The Challenge

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How might we better connect food production and consumption? read the brief

Idea

SIGNAILNG

Make easier to identify local food on supermarket shelves
A simple idea. Sometimes supermarkets and retailers donĀ“t adequately communicate which products are on season or which are locally produced. We can create special exhibitors in the shelves for locally produced food similar to what already exists for imported or premium organic foods. Signaling pretends to make it easy for the consumer to identify that certain foods are in season by labeling them with special colors; or exhibiting them on special locations.

Comments

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Jonatan Wentzel

April 18, 2011, 17:39PM
This is a wonderful idea Luisa! I think a good idea would be to find a supermarket chain to collaborate with. In Sweden we have one that tries to brand itself as keeping lots of organic products in stock. If they would make labels for seasonal and local products they could spread the labels all over the country quickly and effectively.

Kirk Soderstrom

April 14, 2011, 00:11AM
A gem of an idea. Building from your concept, what if local producers were able to brand their products?

The current system commoditizes the work of local farmers, while also reducing the selection down to one or two; it is the equivalent of selling one brand of wine, coffee, cheese or barbecue sauce (I'm originally from Texas) regardless of where it comes from, or what is unique about the producer!

Local farmers currently promote their products at farmer's markets, but the idea would be to introduce a more diverse product selection to the produce section of grocery stores. Within a single fruit, there is a range of tastes and qualities.

It is important to understand the economic forces behind this. Companies such as Wal Mart are extremely powerful. Tactics like predatory pricing have forced local producers to cut their profits in order to do business. I do not know how effective the Trade Practices Act 1974 is (modified in 2007 / Australia), but it is something to keep in mind.

Building from Louise's comment below, it could be a "sticker" (like Dole), or 'freshness' packaging (biodegradable, or course), product placement, and yes, even pricing.

Louise Wilson

April 13, 2011, 11:13AM
Good idea, Luisa. Simple, engaging signage which educates the consumer and helps them understand what is and isn't in seaon is lovely concept that could be built on. Once consumers are used to their being signage, it could be reduced in size and small labels added to the bar code/description. Over time, consumers may only need a colour coded system which would be easy for the supermarkets to adpot!
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