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Bill Roth headshot

Are You A Food Voter?

Words by Bill Roth

Life is getting complicated for 'numbers guys' like me who try to place people in category buckets for analysis. For example, in today’s political environment, how do you define a Republican or a Democrat? The fact that the answer to this question is no longer obvious, or attractive, is why a record 43 percent of us now describe ourselves as political independents. Independent or “none of the above” is now America’s largest political demographic group.

Political parties and business-marketing organizations are in a crisis as consumers/voters abandon brands, whether it is the brand of a political party or of a product. Market research finds consumers and voters are moving past brand messaging to evaluate individuals, and individual products, based on their authenticity and transparency.

Arising from the ashes of brand dissatisfaction and mistrust is a new demographic called the consumer/voter. One such example is the food voter. Food voters use their pocket books, and increasingly their votes, to select foods, food suppliers and politicians based on their support of values like sustainable sourcing of food, food label transparency and health claim authenticity.

Are you a food voter?

How do you know if you are a food voter? Here is a list of attributes:

  1. You align with the 63 percent of consumers who read food/beverage labels and the 54 percent who select foods based on ingredients.

  2. You are seeking more whole foods, like 1 in 3 consumers, or more organic foods, like 1 in 5.

  3. Like 1 in 3 consumers, you are seeking to avoid 'bad food,' deemed as bad because it contains potentially harmful things like trans fat or chemicals

  4. You are one of the 89 percent of likely 2016 voters who favor mandatory labels on foods which are genetically engineered or contain ingredients that have been genetically engineered.

Food voters are turning away from advertising and toward ancient wisdom

In the search for authenticity and transparency, the food voter is tuning out advertising and turning toward what New Hope Network calls “ancient wisdom.” Ancient wisdom embodies the food voter's search for foods untainted by the mass-marketed, industrial food system. The search for ancient wisdom is a key driver behind the growth of the Paleo Diet. It is driving the sales growth of “clean foods” that contain no modern chemicals. It is sparking the shift toward natural sweeteners. It is a major reason why there are now almost 8,500 farmers markets operating across the U.S. And it explains the sales explosion of craft beers. (Let’s drink a toast to ancient wisdom!)

This same trend is a major finding of my research on how to achieve sustained weight loss. We are in a weight crisis from eating industrial foods/beverages with added fat, sugar, salt and chemicals. The film "Back to the Future" is not about a flux capacitor. My research found that adopting lifestyle practices used before the advent of industrial foods and mass advertising will promote sustained weight loss and improved human health.

Food voters impacting government decisions

Food voters are not just voting at the cash register. They are achieving measurable political success. For example, the Grocery Manufacturers Association just lost a U.S. Senate vote where they attempted to stop states like Vermont from requiring food labeling to identify whether a food is genetically modified or contains ingredients that are genetically modified.

I assume that the 49 senators who voted against this power-play by an industrial food-lobbying group have read the same analysis I have that says almost 90 percent of likely voters want to know if a food has GMOs. And I also assume that the 48 senators (47 Republicans and one Democrat) who voted for preventing a state from enabling this level of food transparency have not heard of food voters, yet!

This is the first of several articles on food and human health that draws from my attending the Natural Product Food Expo 2016.

Image courtesy of the author

Bill Roth headshotBill Roth

Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!

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