December 3, 2018 Print

Brazilian farmers are looking at increased burdensome regulations that will make it harder for them to continue producing the food that many rely on. New regulations proposed by several members of the Brazilian Congress call for “plain packaging,” which would ban the use of advertisement in product packaging. In response, Consumer Choice Center (CCC) recently opened a new branch in Brazil to fight these detrimental policies.

The new plain packaging laws, specifically targeting tobacco products, would remove all the advertising aspects of a product’s packaging.  Instead of alluring colors, fonts, and images, the new regulations seek to deter the customer by replacing the more appealing packaging with boring, unappealing colors and labels.

“Several bad policies that would harm consumers are currently discussed in Brazil,” says Fred Cyrus Roeder, managing director of CCC.  “Banning brands of consumer goods, restrictive labeling laws for food, and banning pesticides...make food production much more expensive in a country that heavily relies on its agricultural sector.”

Roeder has argued against brand restrictions in the past, writing that, “in a market economy, brands enable competition and diversification of products and services. The more we limit brands the more we move to a grey, collectivist, and unfree society.”  CCC also pushed back in Europe against similar regulations that would “eliminate all forms of marketing of any products to which a broad range of children are exposed.”

CCC has already established successful partners in Europe and North America; the CCC Brazil branch opened on Aug. 1. It is working with the youth-led Students for Liberty Brasil to demonstrate the harm caused by these policies. Together, they hope to encourage Brazilian citizens to fight for a freer agricultural sector.

“We are about to launch a campaign in Brazil on why brands matter and how a dystopian world without brands could look,” said Roeder. “This will include a stunt of repurposing a grocery store for a day and only displaying plainly packaged goods with large warning labels. We are fortunate to team up with Students For Liberty Brasil and tap into their expertise on grassroots activism and local knowledge in Brazil.”

These regulations on farming and packaging are hurting everyday Brazilian consumers and farmers, hopefully, the work of Consumer Choice Center and Students for Liberty Brasil can help change that reality.