A Message to Moms: Don’t Fear the Fear Tactics in Marketing

By Amber Morin, Arizona Farm Bureau Field Manager and southern Arizona rancher

Hi, moms! In agriculture, we are moms too and we care about you. We understand that being a mom can be very fulfilling, but also very stressful. As a mom, you’ve probably spent countless hours thinking about how to feed your family. “Are my kids getting enough fruits and veggies?” “Should I buy organic?” And, of course, there’s the daily question of what’s for dinner (and who’s making it?)!  Dinner usually falls on your shoulders, although, great dad chefs exist too that I don’t want to forget. So, to help you with what food to buy, let’s first address one marketing tactic you must be aware of – fear!

Fear is a Strong Marketing Tactic that Typically Misleads and Misinforms

Scaring up sales, it’s one of the best ways for marketers to get a product moved! Fears are more easily triggered if you are a parent, as you have the responsibility to care for your children. So, if harm or the potential of harm is detected, parents go on alert! Being practical, most parents wipe counters with Lysol, put covers on electric plugins, keep child locks on cabinet doors, and constantly vacuum to minimize choking hazards. Parents, especially moms, are a marketing goldmine. How aware are you of this? And how does this relate to the food in your home?

According to Forbes Magazine, women alone make up 70 to 80% of all consumer purchases. And women who are mothers are also concerned about their families’ nutrition, per a survey done by the Working Mother Research Institute. However, moms are not even sure what foods off the Choose-My-Plate menu to buy! The image of the Plate depicts fruits, grains, proteins, vegetables, and dairy. Endless choices exist. All of which, can be associated with hyped-up food fears such as GMOs, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics. The list of concerns could go on and on, increasing the feeling that you need to protect your children.

However, according to the American Association of Pediatrics, “Long term, there is currently no direct evidence that consuming an organic diet leads to improved health or lower risk of disease. What’s most important is that children eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, whether those are conventional or organic foods. This type of diet has proven health benefits,” said Janet Silverstein, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Nutrition.

Food marketing, just like all marketing, employs words that play into emotions and especially the emotions relating to the protection of your family. All businesses are trying to sell you something. So, we encourage research before buying. Do not buy into fear-based marketing schemes. It’s your money, your life, your family, and we trust that you as a mother know what is best for your family!

“There is no illusion greater than fear.” Lao Tzu

For more information, so you don’t have to live in fear of food, check out these websites:

The US Department of Agriculture

The Center for Food Integrity

The Best Food Facts

Choose My Plate

GMO Answers

Find our Common Ground

The Food Dialogues

Food Insight

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