A really exciting part of what we are doing in the deli is defining who we are. In this way, we are committing, or not committing, to certain promises to our customers, so that they can feel safe in the knowledge that they have all the information they need about the food they buy from us. Interestingly, just as we decide we can commit to something, we find an element of our operation that creates a conflict with that promise.
Initially, we thought we could commit to all organic. Then we realized that there are some foods that you just can’t get organic. Then, we thought we could commit to no GMOs, then, we realized that some of the ingredients we use are not available in certified non-GMO or organic form; it is not that they definitely are GMOs, it is that there is no evidence that they are not. Then, we thought we might be able to commit to no conventional dirty dozen produce in our food, which is now proving to also be a challenge, due to certain vegetables that are used a lot in our recipes, which I will not name here.
If a natural foods deli has such a challenge finding resources that assist in procuring clean and healthy foods, how does your typical, run-of-the-mill consumer get to a place where they can trust (and afford) the foods they eat?
It also makes me wonder, what are other supermarkets doing, the ones that make no promises and most likely open boxes of salad in the back room and pour them into bowls to serve to an unsuspecting public? The more I know, the less I want to eat, and frankly, I don’t see this turning around any time soon.
I realize I am going down a dark path here, so I will end with this: At the very least, shoppers at the co-op will have the information they need to make their own choices. I can say, without reservation, that the deli will be a place where you will be able to know what is in your food, if you are interested enough to ask, and that, my friends, is a promise we will stand behind.