Business: Do You Know What You’re Really Buying?
On Friday I stopped by Safeway to pick-up a salad for lunch. This happens every week, no excitement there. While I was standing in the checkout line I noticed that the woman in front of me was buying pastries. She was buying a boat load and they were all from a local bakery that I had once toured.
During the exciting times after the Internet implosion and the following double dip recession, I was unable to find steady work as a developer or consultant, so I decided to expand my sales experience. I took a job selling chemicals. It was at this job where I had the opportunity to tour several food processing plants. One of which was the bakery that made the woman’s pastries. What an incredibly disgusting and filthy place that was. The bakery was having trouble with icing building up in drains and pipes, so I took a tour through the facility to see if I had any products that would help them out. The facility was poorly lit, had standing water on the rough concrete floor, open drains, discarded products lying around, rusty equipment, exposed rafters...as I said it was just disgusting. I haven’t bought that company’s products since I saw the plant. As I stood watching the woman buy those pastries, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of what we eat is made in similar environments.
I’ve toured an Otis Spunkmeyer plant which was so clean and well maintained that I could have eaten off the floor. A Safeway milk plant that was the same AND behind a badged security door. After seeing those plants I feel confident in the quality of the products. With all the care both companies took to cleanliness I doubt they will ever make anyone sick. And because I’ve seen the other bakery, I am willing to pay a little more for the sense of security I get from Safeway and Otis.
What a difference it would make in my purchasing decisions if I could see the manufacturing conditions. I’m certainly willing to pay a little extra for piece of mind.
What about you?