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Fear Factor – Why We Favor Smaller Brands

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:36pm

An interesting article, The New Fear Factor: 'Little' Brands Do Better, brings up a fast growing cultural trend…..buying local…or more local anyway. As big companies take hits for contaminated foods, toxic toys and unsafe prescription drugs, smaller companies benefit.

I’m not sure that this warranted because smaller companies, one would assume are less likely to have large staffs dedicated to ensuring a safe product gets to the marketplace. (The logic behind this is that big companies have a lot more to lose from a consumer law suit than a smaller one would.) On the other hand, large companies may have a stronger profit motive.

Either way, we consumers, as I keep hearing, are feeling a loss of control. Somehow buying at the Farmer’s Market makes us feel more secure than buying at the local grocery store. Supporting the local pharmacy seems like a safer thing to do than at a big drugstore chain. Buying American made toys seems like a better bet than buying those made in China.

I’m not sure I agree. While buying local is better for both the environment and for our local economy it may or may not be safer for us or for our children. It may actually be less safe. It is however, oh, so trendy to buy local…so regardless, it makes us look good.

I’ll continue to buy local (I do like looking good) but for reasons that have to do with saving the environment. I won’t however be letting my guard down on the safety issue.

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