Originally Posted by LisainCalifornia
It has become very clear to me that organic and natural foods are the newest marking trend or fad. Eating organics and natural food products that are packaged in appealingly natural-looking bags (like you would find at Trader Joes or Whole Foods) are all part of a "fashion/lifesyle fad". You will find moms in yoga pants wandering the asiles of Trader Joes with a curly haired child in the cart who is sucking on a rice cake---she is there to buy her organic soy milk and Pirate booty and frozen Nancy's quiche. On the way home she stops at Starbucks to get her low fat vanilla soy latte double whip. She feels infinately more stylish than the minivan driving mom who shops at the regular grocery store with all of the colorful mass marketed packaging. Even if the first mom is only buying chips and sodas at the Trader Joes, and the other mom is buying veggies (organic or not) and brown rice, the first mom just feels better about her choices and wears them proudly like a new handbag. It is a packaging and style issue--she is riding the cultural trend that is afoot right now, the natural food-style fad.
This observation comes from a person (me!) who lived in San Francisco for 15 years, across the street from one of the first "natural grocery" stores (Real Foods). I ate there and shopped there everyday, and saw the movement growing, and appreciated what they had to offer--but also knew enough to look beneath the bricks and mortar and see the smart marketing that went along with the cloth grocery bags. They were selling not just food, but a carefully crafted "look" that consumers wanted to be a part of. That look has now finally gone mainstream, and it is being packaged and marketed for mass consumption.
I see a lot of it as a consequence of the "worried well" and the extreme anxiety Americans often feel largely as a consequence to individualism and mass marketing.
It drives me crazy when people get all high and mighty about eating all organics. If you can, good for you, but you're not necessarily making better choices. A lot of the organics that you get at a place like Whole Foods and Trader Joes comes from very, very far away and relies on exploitative labor. Also, processed is processed- packaged is packaged. We go to Trader Joes for junk food. I'm not kidding myself that just because it's organic or natural that it's healthy.
Also, a lot of the "major" brands of organics support the same evil companies that push GMOs and market HFCS and trans fats in their other products.
We try to buy local first (to cut down on fossil fuels and to support our economy) and then organic if we can. We can afford to do this. I would never, ever judge someone who is struggling to feed their families about not eating organics. It is a privilege (it shouldn't be, but it is) and I feel very privileged to be able to choose where my food comes from and what I am going to eat.
I really feel for the mamas here who have to deal with the moral superiority of elitist people who don't recognize their privilege.