The Big Carrot is a small urban supermarket in Toronto, Canada. It stocks only organic meat, organic vegetables, has a vegan deli counter; It avoids preservatives and genetically modified organisms. Unfortunately, in Canada, there is no standard label for GMOs, and it is actually illegal to claim to be GMO-free! (see the canola issue).
The Carrot decided a price premium could be charged and its reputation sustained if its institutional buying criteria could be expressed with confidence. They underwent a major project of about four man-years (paid for by this one supermarket!) to identify all genetically modified organisms and remove all products relying on them from their retail shelf. According to their management, this was a breakeven proposition, but, it would ensure customer loyalty far into the future, as so many people's individual buying criteria exclude eating any GMO foods.
The Carrot is of interest to Consumerium for three reasons at least:
- They are an example of a friendly retail location that would probably encourage Consumerium Service access by their customers in the store itself, either at retail shelf or checkout counter. They might even hire staff specifically to help people understand how to use the system to find out more about what they're buying, or help suppliers get listed and accurately described in the Research Wiki.
- They have made a headstart on a database we would like translated to ConsuML, and probably have at least some information on GMOs that no one else has.
- They may be able to provide some data on price premium or customer loyalty gains to be had by strongly supporting the Consumerium Services and making a commitment to being part of a healthy buying infrastructure.