Recently, I saw a commercial for this campaign that featured a family of three gardening together. After finding out from his dad that it will take about 70 to 80 days to be able to eat the tomatoes they’ve just planted, the sons complains that he’s “hungry now.” His mother reassures him though, that “sometimes we just have to be patient.” Suddenly the food lion appears, saying, “While patience is a virtue, why wait for fresh produce when it’s always right around the corner?” The commercial ends with the tagline “Fresh produce made sensible.”
Initially this commercial didn’t stand out to me, but the more I began to see this commercial its message became clearer. Gardening is cute and may even be a fun hobby for consumers, but don’t forget that you don’t really have food security and are dependent upon the allegedly fresh produce that we as Food Lion sell to you at unbelievable prices. Growing your own food is not a substitute for what we as Food Lion can provide you. While it is true that the amount of work and time that it would require for a family to grow produce that is readily available in the supermarket makes it difficult for most families to provide produce for themselves, it does not mean that something such as a food co-op couldn’t be an alternative to Food Lion.
Food Lion is not trying to dissuade consumers from home gardening but is trying to equate the value of their “fresh produce”, which isn’t necessarily organic or local, with what you can grow in your garden. As a for profit company, is is inherent that Food Lion needs to sell its products, but the manner in which it does markets itself in this commercial is slightly misleading. As a company that has an entire section on their website dedicated to corporate responsibility and has even renamed the triple bottom line, “Planet, Product, and People,” it’s misleading that they would market their produce in a way that appears green, when they know that this can’t be entirely true. How sustainable can Food Lion’s produce really be? Is this subtle greenwashing, or is it really just more sensible to purchase produce from the grocery stores instead of growing it ourselves as a community?