Matt’s Personal Opinion of Organics And Marketing At This Very Second


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Because I’m up to my eyeballs in the design of a package for a new organic milk and I’ve just finished re-reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma again, I’m opting out of photos and words and giving you an artistic representation of how I feel about the organic industry and those who market organic foods (I believe I am a part of that group as well. Color me guilty as charged.)

P.S. I’m thoroughly qualified to make fun of organics as I started my career with Whole Foods Market many, many, many years ago back in the original location. Keep your angry emails to yourselves, folks. I’m just venting!




19 Responses to “Matt’s Personal Opinion of Organics And Marketing At This Very Second”

  1. Anonymous Kevin 

    If you are feeling a tad stressed, it's probably due to the massive amounts of toxins, hormones, and artificial frankenstein-like molecules we ingest each day. They play volleyball with our red blood cells. You probably just need a good nights sleep with your buckwheat pillow, a pleasant white-noise machine humming in the distance and a glass of some warm organic milk. Oops! Err...Sorry. Okay, maybe you need a stiff martini and black-out curtains.

  2. Anonymous sam 

    I wonder if Hangar One raspberry vodka is organic?
    but when it comes to vodka who cares...

  3. Anonymous Veronique 

    Not only can your photograph beautifully,
    You can draw too?

    Unfair, I tell you. Unfair.

    ;)

  4. Anonymous phdstudent 

    Thanks for doing what you do. I always love to read about it.

  5. Anonymous Melissa 

    Too, too true. Love it!

  6. Anonymous Alanna 

    Well I guess if the Swiss can claim that their mountain-roaming "happy cows" make the best cheese and chocolate, these work too! PS The original WF ... I'm forgetting ... Austin? My first WF was on Lower Greenville in Dallas ... a fur FUR cry from the yuppified stores. My goddaughter screamed when we'd walk in ... she thought all the workers were too scary looking!

  7. Anonymous melissa mcgee 

    matt - brilliant, as you always are. this is brilliance.

    and disturbingly, pretty damn true.

    alanna - the wf on lower greenville was where i did my shopping for years and years when i lived "around the corner and down a piece" for many years. it was in transition then from the store it was supposed to be to the store your goddaughter screamed at. i feel ya.

  8. Anonymous jared 

    disturbing, and it's only going to get worse once walmart gets into the game later this year.

  9. Anonymous lobstersquad 

    Not sure I caught all the references, as the organic thing hasn´t quite kicked in here. But I love the drawings!

  10. Anonymous Scott 

    Aren't you very much a part of it, Matt? Don't you work for Bristol Farms?

  11. Anonymous Matt 

    Scott, I am indeed a part of it, but not as much as I have been in the past as organics are only about .05% of my marketing world these days. In the past it was much greater.



    Jared hit the nail on the head here... Walmart will indeed change things with organics and it appears that just being organic will not be enough (hence my illustrations.) It will be a very interesting show-down between those towing the line of organics as way of life (my former employer) and those as way of making more money (walmart).

  12. Anonymous Matt 

    Also, check out Michael Pollan's book "The Omnivore's Dilemma" if you haven't already. A facinating read indeed.

  13. Anonymous Barbara 

    Oh, Matt.

    I am on the fence with the issue of the corporatization of organic foods.

    On the one hand, I see the benefit of having organic processed foods available; it puts more agricultural land, here and abroad, under cultivation methods that eschew pesticides and petrochemical fertilizer, and that is good. On the other hand, the original ideals of the organic movement are left by the wayside, and that isn't good.

    Organic dairy products are, as you know, particularly fraught with ethical issues--because how can one produce truly organic milk in situations where cows are not treated any better than they are in industrial milk farms?

    So, I buy my milk from a small local producer, my cheese from artisans and the Amish, my butter from the Amish and am taking up making my own yogurt and sour cream. When all else fails, I go with Organic Valley, because they operate with small farmers in a co-op setting, and have strict standards on how dairy cows are treated.

    I'd really like to help fund the building and opening of a pasteurization plant here locally so that all the dairy goat and cow farmers here would have the means to sell their products locally, but I am not sure how to go about it....but it is still an idea germinating in the back of my head.

    But, I hear you, man.

    And I second the urging for folks to read Pollan's book!

  14. Anonymous Erika 

    Awesome. (And that's not even getting into the whole consuming cow milk idea, which is squicky when you think about it, but I love cheese and butter so very much I set that issue aside)


    Yes, The Omnivore's Dilemma is a tremendous book, and well-written. Everyone who eats in America should read it.

  15. Anonymous Tana 

    Well, when are you going to marry me, Matt?


    : D

    Love the drawings. Love everything you do. BECAUSE I'M NOT STUPID!

  16. Anonymous J. Wade 

    i never thought milk would make me laugh...........Interesting discussion this thread has become (wow did I just channel Yoda?)

    Whole Foods Market CEO, John Mackey responds to The Omnivore's Dilemma:

    http://www.wholefoods.com/blogs/jm/archives/2006/05/an_open_letter.html

    The preface to the letter is interesting in that John seems to feel like he has made friends with Pollan now.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I am an 18 year employee of Whole Foods Market and I have not read the book yet. I do know there is an incredible amount of disinformation out about WFM and what we are trying to do. Also, I would buy sssssh farms organic milk because I only drink organic milk, I think the packaging is pretty (I would by poop if matt designed the packaging) and I am a cow whisperer. word.

  17. Anonymous J. Wade 

    i never thought milk would make me laugh...........Interesting discussion this thread has become (wow did I just channel Yoda?)

    Whole Foods Market CEO, John Mackey responds to The Omnivore's Dilemma:

    http://www.wholefoods.com/blogs/jm/archives/2006/05/an_open_letter.html

    The preface to the letter is interesting in that John seems to feel like he has made friends with Pollan now.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I am an 18 year employee of Whole Foods Market and I have not read the book yet. I do know there is an incredible amount of disinformation out about WFM and what we are trying to do. Also, I would buy sssssh farms organic milk because I only drink organic milk, I think the packaging is pretty (I would by poop if matt designed the packaging) and I am a cow whisperer. word.

  18. Anonymous J. Wade 

    i never thought milk would make me laugh...........Interesting discussion this thread has become (wow did I just channel Yoda?)

    Whole Foods Market CEO, John Mackey responds to The Omnivore's Dilemma:

    http://www.wholefoods.com/blogs/jm/archives/2006/05/an_open_letter.html

    The preface to the letter is interesting in that John seems to feel like he has made friends with Pollan now.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I am an 18 year employee of Whole Foods Market and I have not read the book yet. I do know there is an incredible amount of disinformation out about WFM and what we are trying to do. Also, I would buy sssssh farms organic milk because I only drink organic milk, I think the packaging is pretty (I would by poop if matt designed the packaging) and I am a cow whisperer. word.

  19. Anonymous matt 

    Tana, ok, when's the date? :)

    Wade, you just made coffee (lightened with organic milk, of course) shoot out of my mouth!


    I'm very glad to see John's response to Michael Pollan. And Wade, when you read the book you'll be surprised that Michael Pollan's take on shopping at Whole Foods is a tiny, just-a-little-bit shallow. It would have benefitted everyone if he had dug just a little deeper, spoke to some folks at Whole Foods, etc. But I think it's a good beginning for both Pollan and Mackey. No one like Michael Pollan could right a book and not be open to discussion. It's that kind of book, he's that kind of author.

    Having created many of the signs, shelftalkers and vendor profiles at Whole Foods Market (the very same ones he discusses in his book) I can see how a consumer would be baffled and confused with "being forced to choose between subtly competing stories" (Omnivore's Dilemma, pg. 135.) But then again all we try to do as marketers and advertisers (the good ones, I mean) is convey a story to consumers and encourage them to buy a product - honestly and convincingly. That's not forcing, simply choice.

    I love that we're all discussing this, and Barbara, thank you for your comments. Your way of writing goes straight to the point and I do wish I had your talents! I'm such a fan :) But then again you already know that!

    Kevin, make tha TWO martinis, please.

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About me

  • I'm Matt Armendariz
  • From Los Angeles, California
  • A man with a passion for good food and a wonderful life with a dash of irreverence. Read at your own risk. Advertising director by day, wino by night. All photos on this site by Matt Armendariz.
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