We work with a lot of food manufacturers, so I was super thrilled to hear that I was invited to attend Esca Bona this year. The conference created by New Hope Natural Media brought together thought leaders, influencers and enthusiasts across the food industry to discuss how to build the good food movement.
The truth is we live in a society where good choices are more difficult to make than the bad ones; one of many symptoms of a broken food system where economic, environmental, social, and health costs are incurred in each and every process from the soil to our bodies or the landfill. At Social Nature, we try to make it a little easier for people to make better choices when it comes to the products we use every day.
When I arrived at Esca Bona, I received a badge that read:
This badge signifies that you are a good food renegade with a tenacious hunger for impact and an affinity for outrageous ideas. You don’t just connect dots, you make them. This badge is evidence of your cred. Wear it with honor, speak the good truth and move our food system forward.
So I wore it with honour.
It was an intense couple of days of deeply engaged conversations around connection to real food, barriers such as accessibility and affordability, and increasing trust in the food industry. Interestingly, trust became an overarching theme as we discussed authenticity, responsibility, accountability, transparency, and integrity.
Social Nature was founded on principles of trust and authenticity. The fact is, while less than half of all consumers trust traditional advertising, 90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. With trust compromised from traditional channels of communication, we saw an opportunity to create a new channel, where we empower everyday consumers to champion products they believe in.
This shift in power can be nerve wracking for some brands, but engaging your ideal consumer to spread the word for you can have a powerful impact. For instance, we recently worked with Hippie Foods, the first Canadian B Corp and a manufacturer of healthy natural snacks, on the launch of their new vegan organic coconut chips. We identified their ideal consumer through online surveys and then shipped 625 of them a bag of coconut chips to try. We invited the selected consumers to share an online review, and if they loved it, share it on social media with the hashtag, #trynatural. 90% of the 625 shared! Based on the high volume of online reviews Hippie Foods is now on the first page of Google for the keywords “coconut chips”.
In addition, through all the tweets, pictures, videos and blog posts, we generated over 1.2 million word-of-mouth brand impressions for Hippie Foods – all from a base of 625 everyday consumers – or as we like to call them … everyday influencers.
While Social Nature is focused on introducing people to better products in an authentic way, the conference raised other important questions like:
- How are food manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers meeting consumer demand for good food assurance?
- How can we increase accessibility and affordability of great food to the masses?
- Can authentic, mission-based brands continue to climb the ranks for the food dynasties or are they destined to lose their way?
- What do break-through technologies like chicken-less eggs mean for everyday consumers entering the modern food revolution?
Clearly there is still a lot to do and as Kevin Cleary, CEO of Clif Bar & Company, points out, consumer demand isn’t enough to grow the organic industry. Every stakeholder in the food supply chain from farmers to manufacturers to distributors to retailers to the media and of course consumers, have the responsibility and the opportunity, to own and move forward the good food movement.
We have a deeper systemic problem where we need to directly tackle the root cause and measure impact at both micro and macro levels. While Social Nature may not be in the sphere of growing the number of next generation farmers or increasing traceability of ingredients in the supply chain, we do have a vision of inspiring 1 billion people to #trynatural by 2020.
I look forward to continuing the conversations started at Esca Bona and feel optimistic, grateful and energized to continue playing my role in the good food movement.
~ Alice Park, Account Director @socialnature
About Social Nature:
Social Nature is a grassroots community of over 100,000 consumers interested in trying natural products and sharing what they love on social media, #trynatural. We call our community members, ‘everyday influencers’ since they inspire their friends/followers to make better choices through their social reviews.
Interested in learning more about Social Nature?