business news in context, analysis with attitude

We had a story last week about how an organics advocacy group is pushing for stricter organic standards, saying that some organic growers and food companies, while technically adhering to the definition of organic, “are a far cry from the idealism and high standards with which the movement began.”

One MNB reader responded:

The Washington Post last May ran an article about organic milk and how some companies are cutting corners and still get the organic label. The thing is organic milk has extra nutrients that conventional milk does not have and so you are not getting what you are paying for. That would also be true for organic cheese, yogurt and kefir. I had no idea at the time there was a nutritional difference for organic verses conventional milk products.

The thing is, if you have a square and keep cutting corners eventually you end up with a circle, something completely different. If you have a product and you are describing it a certain way you can't cut to many corners or you end up with something different and not the product you advertising and in the process lowing the standards of a good product.

It reminds me of the articles you had about Oregon wines, at a certain point you just cheapen the product and ruin it for everyone else.

From another reader:

Thanks for writing about this new initiative that some are proposing.  I am skeptical as to what is driving this enthusiasm to tighten organic standards. Is it consumer centric or are they trying to create more barriers to entry for growers to protect their markets?  We have to be very careful here not to further confuse the consumer.  The current standards serve the industry and consumer very well.  If these advocacy groups continue to push their agenda consumers may lose confidence in organics and fruits and vegetables.

Last week we took note of a New York Times story about how tobacco companies, which decades ago owned brands that included Tang, Capri Sun and Kool-Aid and “barred from targeting children for cigarette sales, focused their marketing prowess on young people to sell sugary beverages in ways that had not been done before … Using child-tested flavors, cartoon characters, branded toys and millions of dollars in advertising, the companies cultivated loyalty to sugar-laden products that health experts said had greatly contributed to the nation’s obesity crisis.”

One MNB reader responded:

I know I am dating myself, but I grew up at a time when candied cigarettes were sold in a familiar cigarette like package (basically 100% sugar). (Talk about hooking kids on cigarettes at an early age.) I also thought, thank God, they don’t sell them today, but then I did a quick internet search and low and behold, they still sell candied cigarettes and cigars online (see link below). This is a horrific idea to give children this junk and it’s hard to imagine any parent giving this to their child. But someone is buying this stuff.

On another subject, from MNB reader Aaron Gottschalk:

I completely agree with your thoughts in response to the four day work week plan coming from Shake Shack.  Being a part of the leadership team at our retail grocery store the amount of days and hours all of us put in week to week is unproductive, mentally, to quantify, but it's a lot and encompasses the demands of working within a very low margin industry.  

I'll go so far as to say I wouldn't by habit know what to do with three days off per week.  I'm certain it would drive my spouse crazy as well as myself.  

Work for some of us old school types is a journey unto itself full of value and rewards.  When any of us in our leadership group start to keep tabs on the clock it's a bad sign and speaks of root based issues that need to be addressed in order to help manifest (again) the deeper meaning held within our professions.  We are here to contribute, serve others, and be inspired.

We had an Eye Opener on Friday about customization and personalization specifically about how brands like Porsche, Ford, Mini and Volkswagen are experimenting with marketing methods to make their models more attractive to buyers — and better for their bottom lines.

The New York Times wrote, ““With electric and autonomous vehicles on the horizon, nearly all brands worry that the car will emerge as a commodity, an appliance. So the concept is to allow customers — custom is the first part of that word — to build an automobile to their exact specifications, making it almost as easy as (and in some cases easier than) ordering an Ethan Allen couch or a pair of Nike by You sneakers.”

I commented:

It also was interesting to see this story because I’ve been sort of vaguely thinking about my next car … it isn’t going to happen anytime soon, but I’ve been thinking about the possibilities.

There are certain things I know. It’ll be a ragtop. And it’ll have a manual transmission. Might be another Mustang (I love the dark gray one I own now). I suppose it could be another Miata (for the 20 years before I owned the Mustang I had two different Miatas, and I loved those cars). Also could be something else.

But one thing I have been thinking about is that I would like my next car to be in British Racing Green … and, having done a little checking, I’ve found that neither the Mustang nor the Miata is made in that color. It’s not available.

Now, I haven’t done a lot of exhaustive research, so it is entirely possible that I’ll find another convertible with a manual transmission that comes in that color. But in checking out Mustangs and Miatas, I found myself wondering why there aren’t a greater number of customizing options, especially paint colors, available in 2019 … It does seem like a natural next step for car companies, which need to recognize that customers want what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.

For me, that’s a ragtop. Manual transmission. British Racing Green.

MNB reader Carl Jorgensen wrote:

The new Bullitt Mustang comes in a green that’s pretty close to British Racing Green. And it’s an awesome car.

It looks spectacular, and that’s the color … but it doesn’t seem to come in a convertible.

Another MNB reader wrote:

You can always customize your new Ragtop color with a whole vehicle wrap.
My nephew does them as a's fascinating what he can do and there are literally thousands of options.

He has already had customers who have changed colors multiple times too.

When I was a kid if you wanted a color change you had to repaint but not anymore.

You are also making me miss my 71 I loved that car.

And, from MNB reader Tom Williams:

Based on your three requirements for your next car, take a look at the Morgan company.  Either a 3 wheeler or 4/4, both have over 100 options to customize including British racing green.  I know I am considering the 3 wheeler for my next car.

Wow. I did a little research and checked out the Morgan Plus 4, which looks awesome. Little out of my price range - it appears to go for about $60,000 - and maybe a little impractical, but I now have a new fantasy.

(I remember the Morgan that played a central role in the movie, The War of the Roses. It didn’t end well for that car, as I recall…)
KC's View: