Posted by: edibleplanet | September 13, 2011

Uncovering Fake Artisan Products

Currently, much to the delight of our children, we are undergoing a research project for a friend. She is thinking of moving back to Christchurch from Melbourne but one of the things she loves in Melbourne is Jalna vanilla yoghurt and we have been trying out all the yoghurts here to find an equivalent.
One of the first things we found was Kiwis don’t seem to be too keen on vanilla flavoured yoghurt. There were many different kinds of fruit flavoured yoghurts but very few vanilla. We decided to try the different kinds of yoghurts anyway to at least find one that had the right texture. Each week we buy a pottle of any different yoghurt we can find.

Fake Artisan Yoghurt

One week, while staring at the yoghurt shelves in the local supermarket, we came across Mammoth’s Supply Company Yoghurt, amongst the artisan small producer yoghurts. On the front it said superthick yoghurt and on the side, it had; “made for men – by men (seriously it was made by a bloke named Brian)”. We decided to give the applepie cinnamon flavour a try. On the way home we got to talking about the yoghurt, intrigued that a small producer would make a yoghurt just for men. It seemed a marketing approach that immediately halved the potential market and we didn’t really like the idea of one yoghurt for males and another for females – why can’t yoghurt be for all? It wasn’t until we opened the yoghurt and tasted it, that all became apparent. The product was as it said on the side full of fruits, sultanas, seeds and grains but I knew that yoghurt flavour – it was unmistakably a big brand flavour. It was after this taste test that I looked closely at the fine print – it is a Fonterra brand.
This suddenly made sense of the male marketing approach but it also made us mad. It seemed devious and underhand. We had bought this product, thinking it was an artisan product made by someone who cared. It was in that section at the supermarket, it had labelling using a similar approach to artisan products but it very clearly wasn’t an artisan product. It annoyed me that despite, I thought, a careful reading of the label – I had jumped to conclusions and not read the fine print. I know this is not illegal but it feels unjust.
In New Zealand we have many fabulous small scale producers making unique and tasty products. They don’t compete with the big boys, they work extremely hard creating their own niche. Now here was a big boy muscling in with their huge advertising budgets – television, radio and social network campaigns – pretending to be one of them.
We live in a busy world and slick marketing can make quick work on our distracted minds. It is also makes it hard for those producers that do have a true message about their unique product. Next time I vow to read the fine print.



  1. It is cheeky marketing/branding. I guess now that artisan products are commanding good prices, the big guns want a piece of the pie.

    No doubt the boys looking for yoghurt will buy this one over a “girls yoghurt”.

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