Informed Consumers or Confused Consumers?

There is a severe lack of compassion in governments around the world at the moment. Maybe an all-time low. Public services are being cut, big businesses are getting away with polluting the earth, poor countries are drinking contaminated water (even first world countries), people are sicker than ever before, children in rich countries are getting type 2 diabetes, refugees living under horrific human rights breaches are committing suicide, and people get into government to make money.

People are going into government to make money. Not to help people. Let that sink in a bit. This can be seen in governments all around the world, from rich to poor, Asia to the Americas, Europe to Australasia, pick a country and you will be able to find corruption in some shape or form.

They can’t want to help people. People who are already at the top of the ladder are getting all the benefits, how does that make sense? The poverty cycle continues as families get poorer and poorer, and no one is helping because they’re invisible. Charities that should not even have to exist, are set up because governments worldwide are so incompetent at looking after their citizens that we have to do it ourselves.

Recently, we’ve seen a fairly-large swing against the plant-based movement, with the ‘consumer confusion’ angle being trotted out at every opportunity. This angle assumes that customers do not know what they are buying, and are being duped and tricked by soy milk and veggie burger companies. Overwhelmingly, the opposite is true, the consumer is more informed than ever, and this ‘confusion’ angle is likely to anger the everyday customer.

Coconut-flavoured yoghurt being mistaken for coconut-based yoghurt because there’s no ‘dairy’ written on the packaging, or a Thai soup that does not mention chicken ANYWHERE but when heated up little bits of chicken are floating there. How is this angle not being mentioned? This is much more likely to cause pain, considering the high level of lactose intolerant consumers out there.

If governments did not lie to us and say that this was because milk and meat lobbies were pressuring them, well, okay, we’d still have a right to be mad, but we would know who is pulling the strings. Putting the blame on the consumer that these businesses are floundering is pretty poor form considering the price for milk is the same as it’s been since the early 90s. Governments have orchestrated this lobby themselves by not paying farmers enough and driving the price floor for these products so low that now, it is impossible to raise the price again without potentially losing money.

Also, Australia has been in drought in one way or another since forever, so how is making milk and meat in this environment sustainable? It’s not. However, we’re so focused on exporting these products now that the Australian market is a drop in the ocean. If these markets completely closed down it would hurt a lot of people, I’m not denying that. However, we did not see this same attitude towards the manufacturing industry, where governments were like ‘oh well bye’. How is this industry any different in its slow and predictable decline?

This is big business’s fault. Governments know this. It’s also because the consumer is INFORMED, not confused, that they are deciding to eat less meat and dairy. There are more studies coming out all the time that say a plant-based diet is healthier, and that reducing your milk and meat consumption does wonders for not only your health but also the environment.

soymilk

It’s funny how they think we can’t read, I’m so confused! Even though it says SOY SOY SOY in huge letters I might think it’s regular milk! 

Why does the government ignore this research and instead place the blame on the head of the ‘stupid consumer’? Short answer – it’s easier. It’s such a flawed study because all the money that not only milk and meat businesses are pouring into pushing this forward, but also all the money that non-dairy and alternative protein sources will have to spend to rebrand, is just ridiculous. It’s also not going to change anything. People who drink soy milk will continue to enjoy ‘soy drink’ and people who like a veggie patty will still love a ‘vegetable-based burger filler’ – changing the names of these products will do nothing. This legislation has already happened in the EU and meat and dairy-free products are continuing to rise, even with different names.

This is because consumers are informed. This entire fiasco seems like it’s trying to trick customers INTO buying meat and dairy products (probably because it is…).

Governments ignoring the UN, ignoring the studies coming out about climate change, ignoring health benefits and risks and basically ignoring any scientific facts that are there to help the consumer make an informed decision, makes them look like the confused ones, not us.  Why not take away our smartphones too? We are so very confused in what we are searching and looking up. Why not take away our glasses or our reading skills? It says ‘dairy free’ on the packaging but I’m clearly so, so confused!

I’m sick of governments treating the general population like idiots. We have all the information we need. With all the problems that are currently in the world, how is billions spent on such a pointless cause helping anyone in the long-term?

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