USA today recently had a good article on the explosion of “Artisan” products that has taken place recently. Tostitos Artisan Recipes chips? C’mon really?

Everyone from Domino’s to Starbucks is cashing in on the word which calls to mind images of a 3rd generation craftsman in a far off land carving something with his well worn, expert hands. Hardly the case for these mass produced products, I’m sure you’ll agree.

“More than 800 new food products have christened themselves artisan something-or-other in the past five years, reports researcher Datamonitor. While fewer than 80 new foods dubbed themselves artisan just four years ago, the number more than doubled to nearly 200 in 2010. “The word artisan suggests that the product is less likely to be mass-produced,” says Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director at Datamonitor. “It also suggests the product may be less processed and perhaps better tasting and maybe even be better for you.”

That made me think of the Flexible Flux™ wave. This wave is about managing internal approval. It lulls people into an often false sense of approval about doing something they know is less than good for them. They offer something that perhaps genuinely a little better than the “regular” brand, but in most cases only marginally. For an increasing amount of people that’s enough to assuage the guilt associated with the purchase. They are embodying the Human Truth™ of this wave: “I want some good stuff even in my bad stuff.”™

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