The fringe ‘cult’ everyone should be joining

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a catchy new name for people like you and me. People who actually care about where their food comes from, and what happens to it on the way to their plate. And who are heavily invested in making others care, too.

But before you go on the defensive, let me assure you that it’s probably not what you’re thinking. In fact, this one is actually positive for a change.

Even better, it means that the American marketing juggernaut is finally beginning to acknowledge us. So it appears as though our consumer influence is growing. And it could mean big changes in the food industry.

If you’re old enough to remember the times before there were vitamin shops on every corner, you might also recall that this is exactly what happened with nutritional supplements. And look how far we’ve come.

So maybe there is hope for us “Food e-Vangelists” after all.

Yes, that’s what they’re calling this “new” segment of the population: Food e-Vangelists. Statistics show they’re mostly young women who are active online, financially secure, and have families.

But obviously, these demographics aren’t the defining characteristics of this group. (Last I checked, I wasn’t a young woman.) Our most important qualities are the general sentiments we share.

Food e-Vangelists make up a portion of a larger population that food marketers call “Food Involved.” These are consumers who take an active interest in the manufacturing and production processes used to make their food. They do their own research and they educate themselves.

But Food e-Vangelists have a slightly different set of ideals and expectations than that group. We’re not satisfied with simply learning more. We also consider ourselves to be agents of change.

Once we have information, we act on it. We feel that it’s our duty to share what we know and “convert” others with this knowledge. We want everyone else we care about to be a conscious food consumer, too.

I know my patients are doing this all the time. I constantly hear how they tell all their friends, family members, neighbors–heck, anyone who will listen–what they’re doing to get healthy and stay that way. So I’m sure my readers are doing it too. (And if not, what are you waiting for? Share this good news with everyone you know!)

According to a recent survey, Food e-Vangelists have a stronghold in several countries. They make up 37 percent of Italy’s population, 29 percent of Argentina, 24 percent of China, 20 percent of the UK, 9 percent of Germany, and 11 percent of the population here in the U.S.

That’s millions of people all over the world, taking it upon themselves to learn more about critical issues. And then shouting the information they uncover from the virtual rooftops.

And if this doesn’t sound like my readers and patients, I don’t what does: More than half of Food e-Vangelists say that they want food companies to make healthy food a priority. And they want the food industry to be more transparent when it comes to sourcing, ingredients, and processing techniques, too. (GMO labeling, anyone?)

At the end of the day, the food industry has everything to gain by catering to us e-Vangelists. Because if we like the way that you do business, we’ll make sure that everyone we talk to knows about it.

The bottom line? Even if you’re not a young woman with a family and a Facebook account, there’s no doubt that you’re as much a part of this movement as I am.

I’ve been preaching the good food gospel for as long as I can remember. And if you’ve ever forwarded one of my emails or shared a piece of my advice, then you’ve had a hand in spreading this important message, too.

And as the reverend of this particular congregation of active health consumerism, I hereby proclaim you a bonafide Food e-Vangelist.

Hennessy, Maggie. “Introducing Food e-Vangelists: The small, highly influential consumer segment no CPG marketer can afford to ignore.” 14 Oct. 2013.