On being a conscious consumer

Our local food co-op will stop carrying all Eden Organic products after a recent member vote where less than 5% of members voted and the petition won by just 13 votes.

I find myself very frustrated. I understand the reasoning behind the petition (the perception that Eden’s policy on the Affordable Care Act is seen as unfair to women, though the reality is more nuanced) but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to buy the products because they are superior and it’s hard to find suitable alternatives.

I consider myself a very conscious and careful consumer, but it can be difficult to decide what to buy, to the point it can be paralyzing sometimes!  Personally, when it comes to vegan food I am inclined to prioritize taste and healthfulness of the product over seemingly unrelated political implications. But it’s still a tough decision.

When choosing to buy a canned product, do I pick the one where the food is organic and the cans are BPA free but the company is seen to be unfair when insuring their workforce or the one that doesn’t stack up as well nutritionally and environmentally, isn’t as palatable, but does provide birth control for their workers?

In looking for a nut milk, should I choose the one that tastes good, is organic, has minimal ingredients, supports GMO labeling and is carrageenan free but won’t provide infertility drugs? Or the one that is full of crap, but happy to provide their workers with a full range of insurance options?

I’ve faced a similar dilemma in other purchasing decisions recently too.

When picking a kettle, do I but the one that doesn’t have plastic and isn’t coated in chemicals and is made in China by a reputable company but with unknown working conditions, or the one that’s coated in carcinogens but made in the USA?

What about the food made by a brand that gets top marks on its allergen friendliness, tastes good, has a wide range of products that my kid likes, but was just bought out by a company that is anti GMO labeling? OK to continue purchasing, or no?

It’s hard to be a conscious consumer!!

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to make choices, but given that’s not the world we live in, how do you prioritize?  When there are none that tick all the boxes, which do you choose and why? Which ethical consideration gets compromised first?

PS – If we get to decide what is carried in the store based on ethical and political considerations, why not take a vote on the entire meat section? After all, animal products are known to be anti-female and employers provide less than stellar conditions for their workers. Who’s with me?