Dick Smith will have the “best prime minister in the world” launch his Dick Smith Foods foundation tomorrow. The foundation promises to distribute $1 million next year from the sales of Dick Smith’s foods, but recent research suggests the foundation might have some culinary application as well.
Researchers at the University of Gävle in Sweden in a study evocatively named “Who Needs Cream and Sugar When There Is Eco-Labeling? Taste and Willingness to Pay for ‘Eco-Friendly’ Coffee” gave participants in an experiment two cups of coffee which were identical, but they were told that one of the cups was “eco-friendly”.
In a slight twist on the placebo effect 74% of those who said they were concerned about the environment rated the “eco-friendly” cup better than the other.
It would be a fair bet that the effect would transfer to something like Dick Smith Foods where Smith is trading not only on compassion in a general philanthropic sense, but also on the products being Australian-made.
We know from the failure of the Australian-made label to make any perceptible dint on imports that being Australian on its own does not impart enough improvement to a good to move it, but twinned with philanthropy it could be another matter.
In a final twist Smith is also giving ownership of the philanthropy to his customers. They are being asked to vote on who will get the funds.
Smart marketing with financial, moral and culinary pay-offs, and all for a total donation (marketing budget) of $1 million.