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organic versus Organic

Teppo

Andrew Hargadon highlights the rapid growth of organic products in a recent post and also makes this telling comment –

…if Walmart insists on charging only 10% more for its organic foods, it will be virtually impossible for the concept of ‘Organic’ to survive.

So, is it the price that suggests a product is organic, or, the way the product is grown or produced?

There is I think a wider definition of Organic (capital “O”) that Hargadon might be implicitly referring to – namely Organic (beyond no pesticides used etc) for many people also seems to connote a broader consideration for a wider set of stakeholders when producing or growing and selling a product. (Adding how a product is sold to the conception of Organic is interesting). So, I am guessing that in many consumers’ minds capital “O” Organic implicitly means that employees are treated fairly (best place to work-lists), environment and community receives consideration (x % of profits given back, volunteer work etc.). Wild Oats (or Whole Foods) indeed seems to fit the profile – see their community page – a one-stop, capital “O” shop for food, community, church, and giving.  So perhaps Wal-Mart meets a narrower, small “o” conception of organic product-wise, though not a capital “O” Organic conception stakeholder-wise.

Somehow I don’t believe that Wild Oats customers will start frequenting Wal-Mart anytime soon (they are busy protesting Wal-Mart), even if Wal-Mart tries to move (whether real or perceived) in the capital “O” direction. 

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Written by teppo

July 16, 2006 at 7:04 am

Posted in blogs, current events, teppo

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