Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

Bottled Stupidity - bush flower essences on the nose

Now that's dumbAnd now another marketing strategy which is practicing that adage; if you can fool some of the people some of the time…

A company which I predict will struggle is marketing bottled water with ‘bush flower essences’ – read this as marketing fluff. I have to agree with Neil Shoebridge from the Financial Review who perfectly described the range as Bottled Stupidity.

Unfortunately, they demean the real marketing substance of authentic Australian ingredients.

As Neil points out, consumers are not idiots but the marketers of this bush flower essences water obviously think they are. He goes on to say these guys take the concept of questionable benefits to a new level. They are co-opting naturopaths who seemingly do not care about their reputations and lend their endorsements to the product claiming it has calming properties; enhances well-being; or is particularly suited to women. What are women less able to judge the authenticity of a claim of benefit where there can be none or do they mean it’s just the water which is good for you?

There is absolutely no scientific evidence that bush flower essences have any beneficial effects whatsoever.

The marketers know this and make claims which cannot be tested such as improving your intuition, insight or creativity (sic).

However, should their supplier of this snake oil choose the wrong flower (if they actually even pick a single blossom) for their bush flower essences, they could extract an unhealthy concentration of compounds such as histamines (which could cause dramatic allergic responses) or equally worrying, chemicals called fluoroacetates, which are similar to the compounds in the bait poison, 1080.

Do these marketers really know or understand the risk and consequences of what they are doing?

I hear that the supplier ‘discovered’ the ‘remarkable’ qualities of his bush flower essences by “meditating in the bush” and then made infinitely dilute solutions of the flowers to make his snake oil.

Spare me.

I actually know that he simply wrote down the names of plants I presented at a short course on Aboriginal foods years ago at Sydney University. Who could really think that there’s any substance behind this product despite the full colour advertisements in the glossy magazines and stands of the water in retail stores. I know I’d be wanting my money back if my purchasing manager bought the stuff in to retail.

I fully endorse Neil’s comments, “If the people (behind this water) think that anyone will buy this hogwash, they are delusional.”

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Vic Cherikoff