It's official now.  For decades those who follow population trends could see that the big bubble in the middle, the middle class, was consistently shrinking.  More people and families were slipping into lower income sectors.  The lucky few were capturing more of the wealth.  Yes, the fond target of mass marketers is no longer where there is growth.  It has shrunk to the point that big name brands such as Proctor & Gamble and H.J.Heinz are now focusing their product mix on high and low end products.  And Canada's adept and market smart Loblaw is keeping pace launching Black Label products that would usually be found in high end gourmet shops.  For the Toronto indepth picture of income polarization I recommend reading The 3 Cities within Toronto prepared by Prof. David Hulchanski, Cities Centre, University of Toronto. 

Recycling has become the sine qua non for most Canadians.  It's the leading environmental practice that makes us feel really good.  Well now listen up, the folks who are responsible for organizing and running these programs, our local level governments are now looking at the root cause - all the stuff we are buying! That is a big departure from consumerism as we know it.  Is it time to rethink our basic consumption patterns and start to think really closely at what really makes us happy? 

There is much debate about the role of organic now that eaters have been drawn to buying locally produced items.  Some Canadian experts say that organic has peaked - higher price and lack of confidence were two purchase barriers.  However, the good news for organic food is that studies here and in the US indicate that people who shop at farmers' markets and other non-supermarket sources have more confidence in organic and are more willing to pay for it.   This is good news for the continued growth of shorter supply chains and local and organic (local) food. 

Daily we see yet another poll revealing new trends in consumption, meaningful shifts in behaviour…you know exactly what I mean.  Here’s an example from today’s newspaper:  “Fifty-three per cent said the state of the economy was very important to them, up from 50 per cent from 2008. And 53 per cent also said that ethics in politics was a priority, up by two percentage points.”  The real news here is that there is no news! Why is that? The writer and possibly the rep for the company that did the poll forgot the margin of error factor.  Based on this poll’s sample of 1,500 Canadians the margin of error is plus or minus 3 per cent.  So factor this statistical reality in dear reader and there is no difference at all!