A Tramp Stamp on the Tomato!

I can’t wait to see if there will be a “tramp stamp” on my store-bought tomatoes one day soon. Change is coming to the produce industry.  Tattoos may soon replace those annoying but helpful little stickers you find on most fruits and veggies. 

There’s a secret trick to deciphering number codes on produce stickers – those leading with the number 9 are organic food, and those that lead with 4 are just plain food, grown however the farmer chooses.  Remember this: nine is fine and four is a bore.

I wonder if the tattoos will be tiny and hard to see like the stickers are now or big and artistic like a full sleeve? I wonder if shoppers will find the tattoos offensive or perceive them to be dangerous to eat?

This trend is beginning in Europe. Can you guess which U. S. retailer will lead the way with tattooed produce? Flip a coin on Whole Foods or Walmart. Sustainability is key to them both, and that’s what’s behind the tattoo movement.

I like the idea of tattoos on produce. I look forward to the day that I will no longer have to stick the labels from the veggies all over my hand when I’m prepping the organic goodies for the juicer.


The Full Sleeve



Bye, Bye Kiwi

Kiwi, you’ve been replaced by a banana. A peel of a banana, no less!

I recently read (in the AARP magazine, OMG did I just admit that?) that you can use a banana peel (the inside part) to polish leather shoes. Smear it on and buff it out after one minute with a soft cloth. A weird smell, banana on leather, but not as toxic as a whiff of chemical-laden polish out of that metal container.

As a marketer of consumer brands I feel somewhat guilty when I find a sure-fire organic no-cost solution to a problem. In this case, it means I will stop buying shoe polish, at least in brown.

As a consumer it’s frankly odd to rub banana peels on your $200 boots. But my last date with Kiwi ended badly when the color of an expensive and favorite pair of Ralph Lauren loafers turned into a blotchy mess of brown awfulness.

My boots look amazing, so do the ten year old Paul Green loafers I still love after all these years.  Oh what one banana peel can do!

And guess what else? The banana itself was a tasty treat in my greek yogurt smoothie! Now all I need is a white fruit option for my golf shoes!

A Pouch for the Planet

“The company acknowledges that the home chemistry project of pouring cleaners like Windex into narrow spray bottles and then adding water can be taxing.” (from the Wall Street Journal, Friday July 1, 2011)

S.C. Johnson executive Fisk Johnson is worried that convincing consumers to make this behavior change is going to be hard. He’s talking about using a pouch of super concentrated Windex to refill the spray bottle under the sink. Add water. Done.

It’s not that hard. And if only 20% of us do it, S.C. Johnson can avoid packaging and transporting 6 million pounds of water per year. Not to mention reducing some of the 72 million tons of trash that is generated by containers and packaging in a year, according to U.S. EPA estimates.

Citizens, this is not hard. It should be our privilege to take better care of our planet. And if S.C. Johnson reduces cost and even makes a little more profit from the effort, that should be considered a good thing.

I can tell you this. Despite my loyalty to GreenWorks products from Clorox, (I spearheaded the shopper marketing agency launch team), I will buy and use this Windex refill pouch. I will talk about it openly with my friends and family to prove that this little behavior change that Fisk Johnson is worried about is not that big of a deal. But the results of doing it are a huge deal for our planet. And I will diligently recycle the little plastic pouch as well.

A pouch for the planet. We can do this. It should not have to be regulated or required. We should WANT TO. I want to. Do you?


Why I Shop at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Markets have great brands. But the brands are real people. On my very regular visits to the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market, my brand plan includes Gary, Farmer George, Organic George, and Ida Belle.  Personal brands! We’re on a first name basis. That’s why I love to shop there.

Gary is a fourth generation Michigan farmer who raises free range chicken that is sold under the Otto’s Chicken brand name. It truly tastes like chicken I remember my great-grandma roasting. They don’t advertise much, they prefer to rely on “bird” of mouth! (I tweet about them often, because I want to help)

George Uhlianuk is the big daddy cornerstone vendor at the market. Look for him in a Red Wings jersey and a big smile, promoting the economic benefits of buying and supporting local farms. He’s known for his basil and his acres of heirloom tomatoes. My garden is full of interesting plants and my head is full of interesting tales from his adventures in farming. Take a look at this photo I snapped a few weeks ago!

Organic George is owner of Cinzori Organic Farms, and the golden beets, onions, potatoes and herbs he sells all end up in a roasting dish with olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar. It’s a culinary treat to have food taste so good. Be ready to wash the dirt off this produce. It’s well worth the effort.

What’s the perfect complement to all  forms of gardening goodness? The shower I take when it’s clean up time, with hand-made soap from Ida Belle. Pure and deliciously scented, my favorite is Sweet Earth and I’ve been using it for about 8 years. She’s delightful. I gift her soaps all the time! She does clever packaging of soaps for showers and events as well.

I consider these brands my personal brands. I shop at the market deliberately, and promote them because they deliver all the relevant elements that a brand should stand for in my humble shopper marketing opinion. No payment required.