Saturday, March 19, 2011

Guilt free?

"He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."Jesus said according to the Bible. But there was no one there who was without sin (well apart from the man himself).

And now we can indulge coffee without guilt, from Guilt Free Drinks.

Somewhere, I get a bad aftertaste from this. It is partly because I find it weird marketing a product on being free from guilt. And perhaps even more, that it is such a simplistic thing to believe that just by buying a particular product you are "doing good", which is what they want to convey. And perhaps I am also a bit irritated about overstating the effect of a certain action. Too many companies use "save the world by buying my stuff" slogans, while in most cases you save the world better by buying nothing..

Addendum: I got a comment from the company, see below. I am sure they want to do good and that their product, organic and fairtrade most likely is a better product than coffee without those certifications. I haven't had the opportunity to taste the coffee myself. My post goes a bit further in discussion though.

This triple certification, organic, fair trade and carbon neutral is demonstrating a strong trend of "added value". And also that is all fine and good - but the coffee growers still only get a tiny fraction of the price of that coffee. In the end "added value" is exactly about moving things further away from the raw materials, in reality or just in perception, which then can motivate a higher price. But in many cases "added value" is actually a worse product than before the value was added (I don't claim that is the case with coffee though. Not roasted coffee, directly from the tree doesn't make such an interesting drink...)


  1. Thanks for spotlighting our product. The idea behind our coffee is that we highlight the good you can do with small actions. If a daily cup of coffee can make you think about it's impact on the environment and society, then that's great and we've made an impact. It's not our intention to market on guilt, our philosophy is that you shouldn't have to compromise between great tasting coffee and something that's great for the environment and society. Fair Trade, Organic and Carbon Neutral aren't "value added services" they're a way to demonstrate that we're making a commitment to things that matter.

    We're certainly not arguing that you save the world by buying our coffee. It might help raise awareness about other actions, and if not we've certainly done our part to limit our impact on the environment, and raise awareness about the value of thinking of the bigger picture. I don't think Fair Trade and Organic labels do anything to move things further from the raw materials. If anything those labels do more to get us in touch with the raw materials. We source from specific co-ops, avoid the middle man and provide great tasting coffee that's good for the environment as well as society. If you poke around our site a bit more you'll see we're not (and haven't ever) marketing on guilt or value adds.

  2. Fair comment Kevin, I really don't want to blackmouth your product. If you poke around my blog and that one of my company Grolink, you can see that we are submerged in the business of better products, in our case organic. And it is true that fair trade and organic move us closer to the raw materials. I have had the pleasure to work with organic coffee many years. However, I felt that the name of the product, guilt free coffee was provoking -well isn't that what you intended in the first place?
    I will amend my post to make clear that I am sure your product is OK and your intentions good...Keep up!