Food and nutrition, Personal development

Why I don’t dislike food marketeers despite advocating freedom of food choice

I love food marketeers. They are creative people trying to do a good job, ie. be a good marketeer.

I develop food products but I used to work alongside food marketeers and they are talented individuals fundamentally trying to generate more interest in the products they represent. They would use price promotions and competitions, brand positioning and advertisement, emotional appeal and variety as well as innovation to create a raving fan base that uses the products over and over again. I think without marketing the world will be a very bland place because consumerism will not exist, and cash flow will not exist and we might as well be self  reliant and produce everything we need to survive! (of course that is possible but I appreciate variety, ones that I can’t possibly create on my own)

So on to my point. We are constantly bombarded by marketing messages, messages that speak directly to our emotions because marketeers have learnt the art of emotional manipulation. When we as a consumer falls for the emotional nudges we get annoyed and we feel cheated. We feel manipulated and steered in directions that is profitable to the food retailer and manufacturer. We get upset. Continue reading

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Workouts

Half marathon training

I find myself, 2 weeks from the race, putting on my running shoes for my first official training session for this race. I have been running regularly, about 3-4 times a week on average for the last few months, but only short 4 milers each time. So naturally, I was a bit concerned about my ability to pull this long run off. However, deadlines work wonders and I had a goal to achieve. So I locked the door and threw away the key, and off I went on a one way track to the neighbouring town of St. Neots, 11 miles away.

A few months ago I signed myself up to support Leukaemia and Lymphoma Cancer Research in the 13.1 mile London race – Run to the Beat 2012. I had promised a few people I would run it again after last year’s attempt and this time also do it in memory of an amazing friend whom lost her battle to cancer early this year. I dedicate this race to Dr. Suraiya Abdul Munaff for she would be terribly proud of me for raising funds for cancer research.

Therefore I urge you all lovely readers to support me in raising funds for this mammoth cause by sponsoring me via this link : http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SarahPhang

THANK YOU for your kindness!

so back to the training. In order to keep myself motivated I set my end point as a shop in the town as I needed to buy a birthday present for a friend. So whenever the going got tough I thought about the shop closing and how my friend would be sad for not having a present and voila! I was off again. I also appreciated that most things were in my mind and by focusing on positive messages like shopping or my dear friend Su cheering me on, I managed to overcome the growing itch of wanting to complain about anything that would hamper my running progress!

At the end, I managed 11 miles in 1 hour 45 minutes, bought the birthday present (and more!) and felt such an immense sense of accomplishment because I now know that no challenge is too big as long as I focus on the right things 🙂

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Food and nutrition

THRIVE movie review : What happens before the supermarkets?

Who controls the food supply controls the people;

Who controls energy can control whole continents;

Who controls money can control the world.

Henry Kissinger.

I woke up early this morning to be greeted by an email in German, from a dear German friend of mine. Upon translating it (cheers to Google), I was brought to a rather thought provoking video entitled Thrive, by the Thrive movement. The documentary narrated by Foster Gamble, a direct descendant of the Procter Gamble Company, where he explores the work he has dedicated his life to doing. Here is a synopsis of the movie I extracted from the official website:

“THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream — uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.”

Being the foodie that I am, I picked up on a small section of the documentary describing Foster’s take on the Green Project and its promise to end hunger. Without going into too much detail, the video claims that the Green project sparked large scale agriculture practices in America controlled by giant Agro businesses. This type of agriculture is heavily dependent on petrol and its products because of the mechanical farming needs and through the use of petrol based fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides. I paused the video at this point because a BIG yet very relevant question surfaced in my mind : How many of us know and care about what goes on at the source of our food chain?

And why should you care?

Feeding people is big business and as we all know extremely important. Working as a product developer in the food manufacturing industry, I experience first-hand the drivers of creating a food product in the UK, namely in descending order of importance :

1) meeting the customer demands

2) keeping it profitable

3) delivering quality

As you can see, to even survive in today’s tough business environment, the top priority for any smart business is to meet the customer demands, then the question is, if the food industry is driven by the consumers (ie. general public), but the consumers themselves have handed over the baton to the ‘experts in the food industry’ to create better food products to serve them, who ultimately is responsible for what we eat? You guessed it right, it is but ourselves.

I am not denying a certain level of responsibility of the food manufacturers to deliver good honest food to the masses ( we will save this discussion for another blog post), but I am trying to get across the fact that in order to eat better and healthier, we as individuals have to begin to take interest in what takes place in creating our food from farm to fork. We have to educate ourselves for the sake of our wellbeing. We have to take back some accountability that we have conveniently passed on to others in seek of convenience and shortcuts.

This is a big big subject and do look forward to more posts discussing it!

I leave you with this task, when you pick up any product off the supermarket shelf (fresh or processed), have a quick think about how far (metaphorically and literally) the process of farm to fork this product had to endure and what could be the complexities involved in the creation of it.

Please feel free to leave comments and thoughts so far!

 

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