Coca-Cola, an internationally known name brand. Is it really the taste that sparks loyalty to this brand? Many argue that it has to do with the way Coca-Cola makes us feel. That is the power of brand recognition.
Unfortunately advertisers know the power of generating brand loyalty at the beginning stages of a consumer’s life. In the United States and other countries throughout the world, children are able to identify with a brand before they are able to form sentences. A study in the journal Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, highlights the ability of toddlers to identify with the golden arches of McDonald’s before they even know the letter M. This early brand recognition is alarming as consumers are more likely to choose foods with familiar logos. These choices are typically highly processed foods that are unhealthy and have been linked to higher incidences of obesity. Not to mention the negative impact these big brand companies have on our local food system and the environment.
What approach should we take in addressing this issue? There exists very little regulation of advertising and our government requires very little in the way of labeling our foods. It is highly unlikely these changes will be made from the top-down, not with so many people profiting at a high cost of our health and that of the environment. While it is important to keep pressuring the government to enact mandatory rather then voluntary regulations on advertising, let us keep building support from the ground up! Demand that the FDA increase regulation on youth-targeted advertising, keep pressuring your state to pass laws for the labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and make a choice everyday by asking for local.
Here in Montana we have wonderful local options that support our economy and help build a sustainable food system. Let us break down the barrier of big brand recognition and start increasing loyalty to local brands. Starting in the Spring, look for this Choose Local brand at area grocery stores. It’s healthier for your economy. It’s healthier for your environment. It’s healthier for you! Contact us today if you are interested in helping us kick off this exciting campaign. We will be discussing more details at the Food Systems Committee meeting on Friday, January 24th at 10:00 a.m. Contact us if you can make it! Volunteers are needed to connect with grocery stores, organize demo days with local farmers, and continue educating the community. Together we can increase awareness and build a truly sustainable regional food system!