I consider myself a savvy shopper. I can read a label with the best of them. I can pronounce azodicarbonamide. I even know what it is. (So can you by clicking here). I hunt out casein wherever it may be hiding and an egg white binder has yet to slip passed my eagle eye. And yet, I bought two bottles of Califia Farms almond milk. Not at the same time. I bought the unsweetened almond milk first. I bought the toasted coconut almond/coconut blend after. And why? Why did I stretch to my full height and pluck a bottle off of the highest shelf? Why, when it was a brand I’d never tried before and more familiar brands were within easy reach?
Because the packaging was pretty. I saw the bottle on the highest shelf in the non-dairy case lit from above like rays from heaven. The light cradled the bottle’s graceful curves, causing the bottle to glow. I heard a voice say ‘I’m wonderful and refreshing. You know you want to buy me’. I do, I thought. My hand reached up of its own accord and lifted the bottle down. Must have…the precious.
It’s a sad realization. Despite my noble principles and lofty ideals, I’m a sucker for pretty packaging. I tell myself it wasn’t really the packaging; that I got it on sale, that it was only a few cents more than the brand I usually buy, that I’m supporting growers dedicated to sustainable agricultural practices. All of that is true but I didn’t know about the sustainable practices at the time. I bought it because the packaging caught my eye and I could taste cold, creamy, almond milk right there in the grocery store. I did flip the bottle over and find the Non-GMO Verified Project label and the Vegan label which somewhat assuaged my conscience.
I understand that packaging is designed to catch our attention, especially children by bright colors and cartoon characters, but I thought my adulthood put me beyond all that. It doesn’t. I’m fortunate that Califia Farms lives up to the promise of its packaging and I have plans to re-use the bottles. Now that I’ve read up on them I’ll buy more Califia Farms products and don’t regret my purchases, but it was a good realization to make. I am as attracted to pretty colors and graceful lines as anyone which means I must be vigilant about reading those labels and research, research, research.