Consumers are getting the message that they need to eat more local, organic and fair trade certified food. But, as I’ve mentioned before, they’re having trouble deciphering what exactly these terms mean. How fair is fair trade? What are the standards for organic? And, for that matter, how do you define local?
How about this for a solution, then: Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This is the simple proposal behind a new grassroots movement that’s building momentum with eco-minded consumers. The PB&J Campaign, as it’s called, doesn’t advocate eating just PB&Js, however. They’re pushing for people to consume more plant-based foods, since the production process creates significantly less greenhouse gases than their animal-based shelf mates. Instead of a hamburger or chicken nuggets, try a salad. It’ll conserve the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of carbon emissions, according to the campaign website.
There’s a lot of complicated science behind the campaign’s proposals, but the PB&J gang manages to sum things up pretty succinctly. This is a measure of not just how sophisticated the sustainability movement is, but how accessible it’s becoming. You don’t have to be a food nut or an activist to know what’s required to make a difference.
Supermarket retailers do a pretty good job of tapping into the various movements out there, like providing local and seasonal products. But they also need to understand the desires and attitudes that fuel these movements. Shoppers want to do their part to conserve energy and help the environment. They not only want the transparency that will help guide their choices — they want the message to be simple and compelling enough to act on.