We have such an abundant life in this country. There are so many options for so many things that sometimes I feel overwhelmed.
First world problems I guess!
In light of recent stories in the media about underpaid workers around the world living and working in appalling conditions to churn out our cheap consumer goods, I started thinking about the concept of quality vs quantity. This concept can be applied to all things, including the food we eat and many of the other goods we purchase daily. Looking around my house I see an excess of everything, and with growing children to clothe and feed, it seems as if I’m eternally shopping.
I’ve vowed to step back and take control, whilst still providing my family with the things they need… note I say ‘need’ and not ‘want’.
By applying the quality vs quantity mantra to all aspects of my life, I can save money, have less of an impact on the environment, really appreciate the things I have, invest in long term items instead of short-use throwaways and send a message to producers about the things I think are important.
Excitingly, I’m not alone in this thinking…
New research from an Australian business review website shows that Australians may no longer be won over by a bargain or a freebie. The results of a survey of more than 1,800 Australians by the Word of Mouth Online (WOMO) website showed that Australian consumers are now more concerned with premium quality of service and a higher value of product.
WOMO asked survey respondents to prioritise factors that would make them use a business again. In food service, 93 per cent of Australians rated “good quality” food and beverages as the most important factor in influencing them to return, while only 29 per cent rated low prices and promotions as the biggest factor. “It’s apparent from these results that the consumer-business relationship is changing,” said Fiona Adler, founder of WOMO. “People now seek a high-quality product or service first, and consider cost a lesser priority. Consumers are also more vocal now than ever before, by telling businesses how they feel online.” Ms Adler said.
Quality vs quantity is a concept we’ve been trying to promote to help people cope with the higher cost of higher animal welfare foods (e.g. free range and organic, meat, eggs and dairy). We know these higher animal welfare alternatives are more expensive (somewhere between 25-50% more than conventional/factory farmed animal products) but if we eat less of them it is something we could all afford.
Reduced animal suffering is just one of the many benefits of eating less animal products. Eating large amounts of animal products is linked with increased rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers so by cutting down our own health stands to benefit.
Another important benefit of reducing our intake of animal products is the positive impact on the environment. Factory farming contributes significantly to global warming as well as air and water pollution. By choosing to consume smaller amounts of quality animal products, that is free range and organic varieties, over larger quantities of cheap animal products, we are all doing our bit to help animals, ourselves and our precious planet.
So, by taking a quick look at our own consumer habits – be it the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the beauty products we use or just the general stuff we surround ourselves with – we have an opportunity to think about what it is we really need and what we could do with less of.
Personally, I’m finding it really refreshing to free myself from all of the stuff and reflect on the positive impact of my choices at a local and global level. I’m hoping that by sticking to my new mantra of quality vs quantity I can inspire people around me to do the same.
For more information on stuff, please watch this quick movie http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-stuff/
For some inspiration and delicious recipes for meat-free meals please see http://meatlessmondays-australia.com or our previous blog entitled Meatless Mondays (or Tuesdays or Wednesdays …) http://consumewithcare.org/meatless-mondays-or-tuesdays-or-wednesdays