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Friday, October 17, 2008

Organic lifestyle

While you see many organic shops sprouting like mushrooms in Malaysia, many including some customers of mine have this perception that the organic and natural business is highly lucrative. I cannot deny it because the health supplements industry cost about RM300 billion a year (taken while I was working in the PR line under the MADSA Malaysia Dietary Supplement Asociation). But ask people on the street, they either do not what is the heck is organic food (I still get highly educated people asked me what exactly is my shop selling when I told them organic) or they would think organic food is expensive.
Why is our industry still struggling? One of the main reasons are the prices. Not because they are more expensive than conventional food but they are certain shops who dropped prices more than they can earn, throwing all other organic shop effort in educating customers the drain. Many times have I encountered customers walking in or calling us just to check on the prices. I just had a customer walking in exclaiming how expensive we sell our products when I realised she has been buying products by some retailers at half of their profit.
We retailers do not get more than 6o or 50 or even 40% off products. The most we get is 30%. Now that part has to cover our rental, salary (my mum and i never had one since 4 years ago)and other expenses .
Unless the market matures with the help of consumers which ironically comes with education. I do not think organic retailers will be compensated enough to remain long or to provide the best service we can. Of course, I understand consumers want to buy the cheapest best available products, but sadly, it will only kill the industry at the end, with opportunists labelling food organic in order to sell better, which is already rampant nowadays.
Organic life starts with your heart and mind. If you buy according to trends probably you will never know what is organic lifestyle.