What is the right ethical behaviour towards food sourcing?

What is the right ethical behaviour towards food sourcing?

Nowadays there is a strong concern about buying good food that is ethically sourced. What do I mean with ethically sourced? Food that ensures good quality, more money for the producers, better conditions for the workers, all in an environmentally friendly practice.

For many years now people want to be more careful about what they eat in order to have good health. However, who can we trust? How can we differentiate a real brand promoting ethical sourcing product from another brand that just pretends to do ethical sourcing? Is it just a marketing move?

It is true that many products found on a market look as if they are ethical but are not. Often, people do not have time to look carefully at what they buy, therefore they tend to simply trust what they see. The packaging appears to be a good product but it is sometimes just a marketing effect. Some companies take advantage of the new tendency to do ethical sourcing just to make profit. That is why you have to be careful about what you buy. You must be very wary when you are in a supermarket buying food.

You have to be aware that many brands take advantage of being ‘ethically sourced’. Big corporations invest in poor countries that have huge resources, and sell their products by saying it is a good quality product, which is true, but is not done in an ethical way. They know the huge financial potential of developing countries. Indeed, they steal their land, make them work for them more and pay them really badly. In the end you buy their product thinking it is better quality because it mentions ‘organic’ but in fact it is not.

Moreover, some big supermarkets can push small producers to produce higher yields in order to make profit particularly in developing countries. This is not an ethical behaviour.

What can we do?

The following are my views and thoughts to have ethical behaviour:

  1. You have to be aware of the fact that big companies take advantage of this market (see above).
  2. Look at the chosen product. Check the description of the product. Do not buy something that has been produced on the other side of the world.
  3. Know the fruit and vegetable growing season.
  4. Find out as much as you can about the different seals of approval.
  5. Build up trust in the right brand. Once you know which product is ethically sourced, stick to it. However, never forget to keep an eye on your product evolution.
  6. Share opinions with friends, family, colleagues or forum on the internet.
  7. Read newspaper articles on the subject.
  8. But do not get too involved or obsessed about it. You won’t be able to do everything perfectly. For example, focus on vegetables, then fruit, and so on. It is all about being aware of ethical issues and taking steps towards better living.

The best behaviour would be to go to your local farmer to buy your fruit and vegetables, to your local butcher, to your local bakery, etc. Not everyone has the time, or lives near a local farmer, without mentioning the fact that a lot of people just do not care about buying ethical products.

What do you think about ethical sourcing?

Do you act towards it?

One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

(Neil Armstrong, 1969)

 Claire Guidicelli

 Sources:

http://www.foodnavigator.com/Financial-Industry/How-much-difference-does-ethical-food-sourcing-make

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/27/ethical-food-labelling-which-survey

http://sanctusmundo.com/products/ethical-sourcing

http://www.guardian.co.uk/starbucks-ethical-living/signup/join-the-debate-ethical-sourcing-what-do-consumers-want

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2 thoughts on “What is the right ethical behaviour towards food sourcing?

  1. That’s a very good article. Indeed, the phrase “ethically sourced” often coincides with a higher price, but in all cases we should take a closer look at the labeling and generally, pay more attention to where the food we’re eating comes from. I am aware that at the moment there are a few people worrying about that, but the whole approach should be about changing behaviours. When aiming for a healthy lifestyle, we need to know what we’re eating. Being a student, do I afford to buy ethically sourced food? Not at all. But what I can say is that my ideal of ethically sourced food would be coming from local farmers and businesses. There you can find fresh, healthy products.

    Feel free to check our article on ethical sourcing and whether people care more about quality or price when purchasing a product: http://ethicalblabbing.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/ethical-sourcing-quality-or-price/ 🙂

  2. Thank you for comment. As you said “the whole approach should be about changing behaviours”. I think people will realise more and more its importance and will consider to buy ethical product. However, it will take time and that is why we must act towards it as much as we can and spread the message.
    Moreover, even as a student I think we can buy ethically sourced food. With some products the price difference is little. Next time you will do your shopping, look a bit more in detail and tell me what you think. I hope you will find products matching your budget 🙂
    Claire.

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