On my recent trip to India I was told, quite rightly, that the mango juice was delicious. The bottle also turned out to be enlightening, and revealed a difference in attitude across the continents.
I was disappointed, though not surprised, to see that the juice was a product of Coca-Cola – the global power of soft drinks companies is clear to see. What did surprise me was the note about new technologies increasing yield:
There was a URL on the bottle to find out more. This told me mostly that Ultra High Density Plantation grows more mangoes per acre, is sustainable and is a very good thing. Once I’d read a few quotes from people confirming that this is a very good thing, I finally managed to discover something about what it involved:
- grafts of commercial mango varieties planted close to each other
- pruning, drip irrigation and ‘growth promotion’ (whatever that might mean)
- special care for nutrition management and pest control
Drawing attention to agricultural technology is strikingly different to advertising in the UK, which often focusses on ‘natural’. Even if people choose a soft drink which is far less natural than the free alternative of water, they often want to know that it has natural flavours and preservatives.
In the UK, if you’re going to drink coconut water you need to be reassured that it is natural…
I’ve been pondering why the difference, and how the advertising influences opinion.
Is it because we have lost our connection to farming, so more food per acre is of no interest to us? Is it because we want a shortcut to being healthy and perceive that natural=healthy? Is it that people increasingly appreciate the value of nature, or is it more sinister – that we have substituted a real connection with nature for something that can be bought in a supermarket?
As always, I’d love to hear your views.