Can Corporate Sponsorship Make Organics Affordable to All?

For the most part, organic food is expensive. The main criticism of organic is that it’s an elitist movement and leaves poor people out of the mix.

Here’s a thought I’d never even considered…could organic food be “sponsored?” After all, the brilliant content you rely on from TriplePundit every day for your daily dose of sanity is free to you as a result of sponsorships, as is Google’s blazing fast search engine, YouTube’s hours of entertainment, Facebook’s endless stream of useless tibits of people’s lives, LinkedIn’s career connections, and all the free magazines you find at your local grocery store.

So could the corporate sponsorship model be used to help bring down the cost of organics? Could Kung Fu Panda, the movie, help bring organic tofu to the masses? Could advertising something at your farmer’s market booth help you lower the price you need to charge customers? I’m no lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but there seems to be no legal reason it couldn’t, as is clearly illustrated by the fact that Kung Fu Panda, the movie, is already sponsoring organic tofu. For Kung Fu Panda, putting your fighting bear’s smiling face on the front of a tofu package might seem an odd place to post an advertisement, but heck, who ever said a bus stop or a taxi cab sign is any better?

When you look at the package, you can clearly tell the “real estate” on the front of the package isn’t really being used for anything else, so if you’re House Foods, why wouldn’t you accept the marketing dough from Kung Fu Panda? It’s not like it detracts from your company’s image, people still understand that they’re buying tofu, and hey, that 99 cent price tag is pretty attractive.

What do you think? Any other cross collaboration activities you can think of that might help bring the prices of organics down?


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Scott Cooney, Principal of and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.

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