Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Consider this Guardian slide show of, ahem, "extra protein" in foods. (Warning - not for the faint of stomach.) It leaves me (other than being resolved to be more careful with foods going forward) with a simple question. Why are these businesses still going concerns? One of them "was fined £1,000 plus costs for placing unsafe food on the market," and I presume that there were some fines to be paid by the others as well, but that should have been the least of their worries. This sort of thing should be brand-destroying. Part of the reason why it's not is, of course, the nature of reasonably large businesses. A corner bakery is easy to put out of business via a public boycott - the overall customer base is relatively small. Businesses that operate in larger and more diverse markets are a different story. Something gross happening in one place doesn't necessarily drive people who live a few hundred miles away to alter their buying behavior.

But maybe we should be working to change that. The best way to get a business, even a large one, to do something different is to start choking off its cash flow. Which, in a lot of cases is more involved, not to mention more inconvenient, than changing brands of bread. But it would likely be a worthwhile thing to do. Even a dedicated group of professionals can't protect us from everything. But when the businesses that make things face the prospect of serious difficulties when things get by them, they tend to be more alert. Consequences, like incentives, matter. Businesses operate on trust. That makes it an important and valuable commodity. We should learn to be stingier with it.

h/t to +Denis Crushell

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