Your (food) business: 6 easy ways to go from good to great


You know what - I think we can probably summarise this in a sentence actually:

Make people feel good about themselves.

There, we’re done. That’s all you really need to know - you can probably work the rest out for yourself.

But like all simple truths it’s nice to have a bit of validation and some statistics to back it up. You don’t need them, of course, because you already know it to be true, because it’s true for everything that all humans do, everywhere and forever: how we choose our friends (they make us feel good), the places we live (it makes us feel good), the things we do (they make us feel good), even that most giving of acts, altruism, makes us feel good.

But here’s an important point before we go too far. There’s a sliding scale to this statement: better, good, great.

  • Making people feel better is easy. You just have to remove a need. I’m hungry, my only option is garage sandwich, I feel better. I don’t feel good and I certainly don’t feel great.
  • Making people feel good is a little tougher, but it’s not rocket science. The key thing to remember is that not everyone is moved by the same desires and motives.
  • Making people feel great should be harder, right? But it seems it might be easier - you just have to be prepared to step aside. We tend to have a pretty good idea what makes us happy. If you can provide the environment for me to flourish and find my own fulfillment and act on my own desires, then you’ve made me feel great without having to do much at all.

So that’s all very good, and well done pop. psychology and sociology, but how does this translate into how you run your business? Let’s look at some stats and statements to see if a pattern emerges.

  • We are motivated by a desire for mastery, autonomy, and purpose
  • These are also traits we hugely admire in others

1) Take joy in being good at what you do. We’ll love you for it.

  • 94%  would switch brands if a different brand of similar quality supported a good cause - up from 63% in 2009.
  • 82% believe supporting a good cause makes them feel better about themselves
  • 66% of people believe it is no longer enough for business to simply give money away to a good cause; they need to integrate good causes into their day-to-day business
  • 65 % of people have more trust in a brand that is ethically and socially responsible
  • 63 % of consumers want brands to make it easier for them to make a positive difference in the world
  • 61%  have bought a brand that supports a good cause even if it was not the cheapest brand

2) Be a good cause - make it your business to create the world we want to see.

  • 75% of customers want to support their community
  • 83% of consumers are willing to change their consumption habits if it can help make tomorrow’s world a better place to live

3) Fit closely and responsibly into the world around us.

  • 64% would recommend a brand that supports a good cause –up from 52 % last year (up 10 % in the UK)
  • 59% would help a brand promote its products if there was a good cause behind it

4) Give us a way to continue feeling good about ourselves. Help us build our social credit.

  • 40% of the value of transactions is digitially influenced, which is basically to say “heard about it online” but given the influence of our friends on our shopping habits, it’s “heard about it on facebook or twitter”
  • Millennial generation consumers have an even greater preference than most to do business with responsible companies
  • Mums appreciate corporate responsibility even more than Millennials do.

5) Make it easy for us to spread the word about what you do. 

  • We are cooking at home more, and are enjoying the re-skilling
  • We like indulgent purchases, but value our health more
  • Convenience is key.

6) Make it easy for us to be a healthy, fulfilled individuals.


Update (noon, 19 Jan): This just in from the Soil Association Newsletter validates all this very nicely:

Organic trends led by young shoppers: Young shoppers are twice as likely to buy organic products than those over 35, according to a recent survey. Food market research firm IGD found that 26% of shoppers under 35 expect to buy more organic food over the next 12 months, compared with 13% of over-35s. Horticulture Week (13 Jan, p.25)



  • Hotels for Hope
  • Huffington Post (4 Dec)
  • 10 ways for Companies to survive in 2012, The Grocer
  • Pessimistic consumers will keep trade slow, The Grocer
  • Staff motivation will be key in battle to get consumers spending, The Grocer
  • Edelman Global Consumer Study
  • Cone Cause Evolution Study


Author: Ed

Ed is the founder of Sustaination. He believes that a better world is possibly, desirable, and necessary, and gets rather frustrated by people who aren't prepared to give it a try.

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