Fraud in the pursuit of lucre is not limited to the retailer, of course.
There have been instances of produce being mislabeled organic at the farm
>It's almost as if the
>premium cost of organic has made the retailers and consumers assume that
>any "quality" produce should cost more. In some cases this is partially
>justified by some unusual quality of the produce - in others, there doesn't
>seem to be anything "special" about the stuff.
Why shouldn't quality cost more? There are varying degrees of quality in
unprocessed foods, just as there are in processed foods. Or furniture, or
automobiles, or sneakers, or anything else that is produced and sold. The
difference between a high-quality O-ring and a low-quality one may not be
outwardly evident, but I'd like to think the airline I'm flying on forked
over the bucks for the higher quality.
Unfortunately, food seems to have become more "commodity-ized" than just
about anything else. Milk is milk, apples are apples, green beans are green
beans, beef is beef. It's like saying a car is a car, when in fact some are
BMWs and some are Neons. The only product differentiation that many
consumers understand is "organic.'" That's unfortunate, and short-sighted.
Premium-quality produce (which might mean a superior-tasting or
high-nutrition variety, or produce that was harvested yesterday instead of
last week, or produce that was hand-picked or hand-sorted) generally is
more expensive to grow, handle, and market--whether it's organic or not. If
it doesn't command a higher price, it makes no sense for farmers to grow it
or for retailers to sell it.
Whether consumers will pay for quality isn't even the big question. The big
question is whether they still recognize it.
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