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BACKGROUND

“Poison is in every thing, and no thing is without poison. It is the dosage alone that makes it a poison or a remedy.“

This famous dictum of Swiss physician and medical reformer Paracelsus (1493 – 1541) is truer today than ever before. A healthy diet and a healthy way of life are indeed all a question of the “right dosage of all things.”

The aim guiding the services offered by LOBSTER & me is thus that of working together with companies, organizations and associations to show consumers what actually constitutes a healthy lifestyle, and to develop products that are not only honest, authentic, and trustworthy but also competitive and commercially viable. Such an objective can be achieved only if due account is taken of the market situation, the wider market setting, and current consumer and market trends.

Consumers

Many consumers are simply overwhelmed by the avalanche of information they are confronted with each day across all communication channels. Paradoxically, however, they are often unaware of the fact that a healthy lifestyle, for both themselves and their family, is not only realizable but also affordable. Furthermore, a “healthy way of life” does not automatically mean self-denial – neither in financial terms nor in the sense of going without one’s favourite foods. Enjoying a balanced, healthy diet in day-to-day life is, in fact, rarely a question of a lack or will to do so, and more a problem of the lack of time and motivation, or uncertainty as to what actually is healthy, authentic, and right.

Producers

Manufacturing companies from the food and health sectors, for their part, are under huge pressure to remain competitive by producing commercially viable products. If consumers had their way, all products would be authentic and, ideally, completely free of additives such as flavour enhancers and stabilizers. Additionally, production and raw materials sourcing are expected to be transparent and verifiable at all times, and the companies themselves to be credible and trustworthy. Yet this very same market demands – in addition to constant economic optimization processes – that products be ever more standardized and stable, available on a year-round basis thanks to improved shelf-life, at all times well-presented – and, of course, attractively priced. For small and midsized companies in particular, this is quite a challenge, the manpower, expertise, product development capabilities and pricing power all being resources which, for them, are in short supply.

Government

Encouragingly, Germany’s federal government is, through the BMELV (Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection), now devoting far greater attention to the issue of preventing nutritionally related diseases among the country’s population – yet an even larger part of its funds still has to be spent on rehabilitation and therapy to treat precisely these disorders. It is apparent that many measures are as yet failing to have any sustained impact. It is, for example, still the case today that many Germans – and, sadly, many children in Germany – are increasingly overweight or obese, and afflicted by nutritionally and lifestyle-related disorders. Matters are compounded by the complex – to express it cautiously - situation obtaining between the two poles of “supplier“ on the one hand and “buyer” on the other.

It is in the resolution of this tricky three-sided equation formed by consumers, producers and government that LOBSTER & me sees the main aims and benefits of the consultancy services it provides.