Ethics are the icing, not the cake

A tale of 2 smoothies reminded me of the importance of being clear about the main reason people buy you (the cake), and secondary reasons (the icing. And a cherry if you feel like it).

Smoothie one: we bought on Sunday morning when out for breakfast as a family. It was a fair-trade brand called AJ’s, where the ethical stance of the company was the brand idea. I’m interested in Fair Trade products as I am helping one of my food clients look at this question.

Well, we poured out the stuff and shared it around, and… ugh! This stuff tasted like shit. Amazing really, that it is quite hard to make a good fruit juice or smoothie.

Smoothie two: innocent’s new Superfood one, with slow release energy (guava and mango). Yummy scrummy. The whole big 1L tetrapack was glugged in a sitting.

Now I do love all the ethical stuff innocent do, it makes me feel all nice and fuzzy inside. Like the bobble hat packs to raise money for old people at Winter [370,000 hats knitted, close to the 400,000 target] And the "Buy one, get one tree" promotion. Isn’t that just sheer bloody brilliance? BOGOT instead of BOGOF (Buy one get one free). Here is the virtual forest where you can see the tree that Chloe helped plant in Africa:


But, and its a big BUT, if the main reason I buy them is because I love the taste, especially the Strawberry and Banana one, and now the Superfood one. And taste is also why no matter how worthy and fair it is, I’ll not be buying AJ’s again. Its got good ethical icing, but the cake’s crap.

Same story for Green & Blacks. The brand took off when they promoted it as a gorgeous, premium chocolate with organic credentials as the reason to believe (on the right), not the reason to be (on the left):