Is Organic Sexy? Let’s Vote!

I was sitting in the German headquarters of Unilever a few weeks ago—it’s an incredible eco-building that is very modern and cool-looking—and was talking to their head of supply chain. He was lamenting that the reason consumers don’t buy more organic products is “because organic’s not sexy enough.”

Think about that for a minute. Everyone complains out the wazoo about the price of organic food. But here are a few expensive things you never hear ANYONE complaining about the price of: Manolo Blahniks and other designer shoes, gourmet coffee and chocolates, fancy cars, flat-screen TVs, designer handbags, and finally, (often toxic) beauty products. OK, admittedly, there are many people who can’t afford to buy those things and simply won’t—but there are a lot of people who CAN afford those things and DO, but don’t buy organic foods and products because, well, they just aren’t sexy enough.

So what makes something sexy? It’s got to look good…really good. It’s got to taste good (and I mean yummy). It’s got to make you feel special and excited…and hot. It’s got to give you pleasure…intense pleasure. Does that describe your usual trip to the health food store? (Farmer’s markets have the added bonus of an opportunity to flirt with the cute farmers, which can be sort of sexy.)

When it comes to clothing and accessories, it’s hard to find organic options that don’t make you feel like a Rastafarian-college-dropout magnet. The sole exception clothing-wise is Stewart and Brown. But handbags? Not so much. Shoes? There are a few functional eco-shoe companies, but still, the style is more Danish nurse with a harsh bedside manner than sex kitten (I mean, both have their fetish qualities to them, but still, the harsh Danish nurse sex appeal might excite only a minority). Blue Canoe is doing a decent job of ramping up the sexy quotient on its organic underwear, but it still feels like you’re little-girl cute rather than hot mamma. I’m just sayin’!

Personally, I believe sexy is an attitude that you really don’t need anything to augment (think…NAKED!), although, having someone to appreciate your sexiness is the most important and invaluable accessory. But I think there is some truth in that German businessman’s thought, in that sex truly does sell, and anything can be either sexy or not so sexy—there are some universal laws of sexiness, I suppose. And it probably has a lot to do with anything that reminds anyone of certain body parts that are sources of sexual pleasure, or of sensual pleasures and aphrodisiacs. Scientists tell us that the color red is sexy, for instance. In fact, I’ve seen studies that show guys won’t even notice what you are wearing  (including nail polish) unless it is bright red. Turns out that bulls are colorblind, but guys aren’t. And organic beige is neither stimulating nor sexy.  So in one of my upcoming blogs I’m going to share my top 10 list of ways to make organic sexy, but in the meantime, I want to find out what you think. So please vote!

ORGANIC SEXY TIME POLL

Feel free to elaborate on your answers! Last time I posted a poll here (Miracle Whip vs. Mayo Smackdown), Miracle Whip stole my idea and made a commercial out of it…. Did any of you see that?

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24 Responses to Is Organic Sexy? Let’s Vote!

  1. Laura B. says:

    Pose another question- Are chemicals sexy? NO WAY! Hands down, organic wins!

  2. Kate J says:

    Agreed – organic is sexy. It’s very sexy not to poison people and the planet. Also agree that beige, potato sack-like clothing is very UNSEXY! Is there a happy medium? Maybe designers like Manolo Blahnik need to realize there is an untapped market for people who have the will and the means to purchase items that don’t trash the earth.

  3. Laurie Reinhart says:

    Organic is Totally sexy.
    Natural is WAY HOT! Was just telling my daughter, who asked if she could take modelling lessons. After counting to ten, I calmly said… you just dont worry about what you look like. Keep-up with your sports and dance and eat right and you’ll be beautiful. period.

  4. Maya says:

    Yes, organic is totally sexy, until we’re talking clothing and attire. I want to wear clothes made of eco-friendly fabrics but I don’t want to look like a college student, or hippy, or yoga freak, or wear a preachy message T-shirt, or that natural organic beige.

    Points go to Levi’s for their organic cotton jeans. I would love to see other mass market chains start incorporating eco-friendly fabrics and dyes.

  5. Vanessa Wishstar says:

    First, i think our culture is over sexed as it is. So needing ‘more’ stimmulis is understandable, aka why beige is boring and red is exciting, it’s all our ‘old beliefs’. Here’s the deal when i shop at Farmers markets or very small local organic food stores, I feel sexy because I feel CLEAN. Less packaging, products i can touch, and low stimmulus helps me have a pleasant shopping experience therefore leading to happiness and peace. Even big stores that sell organic makes me feel exhausted and in a place of ‘survival’ and I know I don’t want to have sex or feel sexy when I’m stressed. Plus anything closest to nature always has a rugged sexyness about it. Just think, people have more sex and feel sexy when they have a relaxing vacation in nature than any other time, it’s ‘organic’;). Then again I’m a Sagittarius and it would be typical of me to say that;).

  6. Amanda says:

    Doesn’t Stella McCartney have a line of organic lingerie?

  7. Paula says:

    Here’s what happens when marketers start making products sexy to SELL, SELL, SELL and make money:

    “International food giants Kraft and UNILEVER along with the German brand Dr. Oetker were fined a total of 38 million euros (53 million dollars) by Germany’s Cartel Office on Thursday.

    The companies’ German divisions were found to have broken competition law by meeting to share information on their negotiations with retailers, the office said. ”

    Read more at http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,14920190,00.html

    “Sexy” shoes mean expensive, unnecessary shoes, luxury shoes, Manolo Blahniks, shoes designed to do little more than make money. This type of sexy is as empty as an air-brushed (fill in the blank).

    Let’s keep organic foods and products “sexy” in the non-marketing sense of “sexy”: natural, sensuous, GOOD, want more, need more, wish we all had some of this! I agree with Vanessa.

  8. Scott says:

    Seriously, is this even a serious question? Now organic should be sexy? Wow, I expect more from this site.

  9. organicgal says:

    Food has always been sensual/sexual and organic food is more so in that you can eat what you want and do with it what you want and it doesn’t have toxic chemicals to put in or on you. Organic bath/cosmetic products? It’s the advertising budget. Get some young au courant model who loves all things green and have her do the campaign and you have sexy.
    http://www.copperwiki.org/index.php?title=Eco_Fashion
    Just checked out the above website and Linda Loudermilk’s designs looked kinda sexy. And I think Barney’s NY would have some conventionally sexy green clothing in addition to the shapeless or puzzling garments that modern upscale designers can have. Seek and ye shall find. Ask and ye shall get…the customer is king!

  10. Cindy Weidman says:

    Vanessa got it right: Feeling clean, healthy, and energetic is feeling sexy. Being surrounded by plastic (packaging, chemicals on new clothes, media marketing) feels fake and surreal, a turn-off.

  11. maria (farm country kitchen) says:

    Hey Scott,

    Take it from me, talking to a woman like that is definitely NOT sexy.

    Maria

  12. Scott says:

    I wasn’t trying to be sexy and I really wasn’t talking to anyone. I stated I expect more from this site…

  13. Barbara says:

    What is being ‘discussed’, imo, is basically how to make organic more main-stream. And this big wig from Unilever says “because organic’s not sexy enough”. Scott, I totally expect this site to delve into ideas like this, because getting thoughts and ideas from a variety of perspectives can be a way to get things moving in the ‘organic’ direction. I can envision a commercial, feeling clean & healthy from organic, verses the dirty, horribly smelling chemical side. real vs fake, natural vs artificial. Some truly do not care. Some are just not educated enough to know to care. Some feel they just have too many other ‘things’ to worry about. Etc. How do you reach them? Sometimes with sex-appeal. Sounds silly, but that is what sells in our lurid world these days. The organic companies just need to redefine what sexy is, and or what it is not. Ok. I am done for now.

  14. Mary says:

    Organic – anything seen as good for you- is as sexy as a spoonful of bitter medicine! “Good for you” doesn’t win, “Fun” wins, “winning” wins, “money” wins”. “Trappings of the stars” wins. “Being toned and shapely” wins. As does health.
    My best organic feed is organic celery. How boring is that? I did an organic shop one week that included everything I need, but it HAD to be organic. I think the tomatoes were hydroponic, as they were tasteless, even though still on the vine. Bananas- no difference. Carrots- sweeter, no bitter after-taste. But the celery was a real hit! Not produced in large quantities, apparently, as it’s now hard to find.
    “Organic” has its niche following of intellectuals, and has a sort of nerdy connotation. Stay away from pastels and funny colours and colour combinations, and get some really strong and snappy art to support it. As well as having its own designated display area in the shops. Displayed, it must look freshest and most inviting, clean and neat. My earliest recollection of farms and farm people has something to do with dirt. Dirty eggs, dirty vegetables, hefty farm women with no dress sense. So different from the French attitude towards food. Although, Country French women don’t dress couture, theirs is a certain charm unto themselves. Perhaps for yourproject, you should look into the French appeal. Their nation is built on fresh food, and good cuisine. If it looks bad, wilted when it’s supposed to be crisp, overcooked, undercooked, it is not appreciated. What about cheeses? Are American dairies producing as wide a variety of REAL cheeses as they could be? Europe produces so many more kinds in a much smaller area! Will have to wean people off Velveeta – not an easy task, I’m afraid!!

  15. Mary says:

    I failed to mention in my previous comment, that although the taste test failed one week, I have had much better tasting organic vegies at other times. Just why those failed I don’t know. I don’t think hydroponic should count as organic, though.
    TV programmes such as cookery shows promoting organically grown foods and producing infinitely better-tasting food right in your own kitchen should be actively pursued. As well as the usual onslaught of successful marketing. Rather in-your-face!
    I understand Jamie Oliver had a hard time in America – harder than in the UK. Haven’t seen the series, but on my lits of ‘must sees’!

  16. Paula says:

    Hello!
    Wondering if my comment was not published because I included a link to another article regarding Unilever’s price fixing activities. Just wanted to provide an example of how “sexy” marketing is likely tied to other not so harmless marketing and pricing tactics. The idea of organic going mainstream is great, but if that requires making organic products “sexy” in the sense of large corporate marketing schemes, I’m not for it at all. Organic might be inherently regional…

  17. Alina says:

    Oh, guys! It is simply a question of words and terminology. Simply the word “sexy” is more controversial so it is used to stir attention (even by Maria! goodness) than equally adequate word ” attractive”. For goodness sake who would walk thru the middle isles of the store full of preservatives and artificial colors, look at disgustingly pink frosting and consider it sexy? Then you go to organic produce isle and your heart beats faster and mouth waters but would you think of the word “sexy”? Wonderful, tast, incredible, what your body craves – would describe it well. And please, quit moaning about organic clothing being dull – visit my site http://www.NaturalClothingCompany.com – not for me to advertise but to see hundreds of beautiful, stylish, fun, wonderful and fashionable styles for both men and women. Let’s don’t give in to “what kind of words sell” but to what has merit, beauty and long term style. Every month some marketing person tells me that the organic and value does not sell as well as glamour and sex. Maybe we should say “No!” bit louder to that.

  18. Alina says:

    By the way, Barbra – well put. I am with you and my original comment probably will not be published because I included the link in there. But the creating a new reality is where we need to go and worrying about using language just because it has been selling cars and TVs is ridiculous. Next, will be stuffing organic fruits with pharma because that sells really good?

  19. Donna in Delaware says:

    What is this world coming to? Organic or nothing!!!

  20. emi says:

    Organic is totally sexy, just not sexy enough for it to be the mainstream that is should be. The question to ask is how do we make organic mainstream? How do we bring the understanding necessary to the general populace.

  21. Therese K. says:

    I don’t understand, what is really sexy? How can animal fur or animal leather on human be sexy. To me nature, environment and organic (that mean living food) is sexy. Organic cosmetic and personal care products give people natural look and keep them healthy, what can be more sexy than healthy?

  22. Therese K. says:

    By the way Alina I am glad they did print you website. Those clothes are absolutely gorgeous and sexy too. Combine those clothes with Miessence certified organic cosmetic and personal care products and organic fruits and vegetables and you have match make in heaven.

  23. Bernadette says:

    Organic is definitely sexy. Organic clothes have come a long way from frumpy – even my mountain man husband bought a pair of hemp pants last year that he says are the softest and most comfortable – and look amazing on him. We also both love and use organic products like Dr. Bronner’s Castile Peppermint Soap. Someone wrote to Dr. Bronner stating that using the soap was like having a York Peppermint Patty in your underwear – now that’s sexy! (And funny.)

  24. Alina says:

    Bless your heart, Therese. You know it really stumped me why this subject hit such a hot nerve in me. It’s not Maria’s comment itself – it’s OK to ask for discussion but the fact implied by every day of running a business or running a life, for that matter- that you need to be attractive, approved by majority, meeting their (often quite low) standards on price, quality and be sexy on top of it! Maybe we can get away with out it. Maybe we can be a niche that leads instead following, that educates but does not give in to criteria built for different subject and different mind frame.

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