This week, AP's asap website ran a terrific overview of the growing trend of "connected foods" where - by using the web - consumers can trace the specific farms and farmers where their items came from.
In addition to Dole's wired bananas (which I wrote about the other day) here's a few more examples of connected foods highlighted in the article:
-- Heritage Foods lets you trace the origins of their meats and seafood.
-- Organic Valley lets you find the specific farmer of the Soy milk you're drinking
-- The Consumer Information Lab is working on letting you use your mobile phone to get instantaneous information about different products before you buy it.
A good rule of thumb that I've used for years is:
You can usually tell when you're onto something when the "big guys" don't seem to get it.
Here's a good example of "not getting it":
Chiquita bananas (which has one of the worst websites that I've ever seen) clearly doesn't get it, as they still think that you'd rather "connect" with "powerful brand icons like Miss Chiquita" then with real people.
Quoting the article:
Chiquita's Web site doesn't offer feel-good photos of farmers or cams in the field. Instead, it highlights a different kind of connection: that between the consumer and the company brand.
"With powerful brand icons like the Chiquita blue label, Miss Chiquita, and the Chiquita jingle, consumers have a strong emotional bond with the Chiquita brand," the Web site proudly tells potential retail clients.
No offense to Chiquita, but the days in which consumers have "strong emotional bonds" with fictional brand icons like the stereotyped cartoon character "Miss Chiquita" are over - and have been over since the 1950's.
In today's world - people connect with people, not logos.