In a recent article from The Globe and Mail, Sarah Elton discusses how big brand companies and supermarket chains are adopting the “‘buy local’ zeitgeist with marketing efforts aimed at capturing this audience.” Elton refers to several ad campaigns from companies like Frito Lay and Hellmann’s mayonnaise (a Unilever brand) utilizing depictions of farms that suggest a refusal of “big brand” products. Somewhat of a hypocritical suggestion perhaps, but questions arise as to whether or not we’re dealing with a wolf in sheep’s clothing or a genuine interest in appealing to consumers with actual local products.
Elton’s article begins to answer that question by noting that local, for a lot of these big businesses, means produced in the same country, or grown locally but processed somewhere else. This infirm ground may be the break in the big business “buy local” marketing campaigns, but some are optimistic.
Jennifer Story of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving Ontario’s farmland states. “There are many examples of businesses who have taken up the rhetoric and used it to green-wash themselves and there are a number who have actually made substantial changes,” she says. “We would love to see companies like Unilever take up the local food challenge and start contracting with greenbelt farmers.”
Read more about the growing desire for local food and the rise of “buy local” marketing.