I was meandering through Costco, looking for some yummy tofu-skin noodles I’d sampled during a store demo a few weeks earlier. I never found the the noodles—Costco can be like that—but I did spot True Story, a new-to-me brand of organic meat products.
Hmm. You can tell a story, hear a story, read a story, or film a story. But can you taste a story?
Here’s how San Francisco-based True Story explains its name:
Our company is rooted in the true stories of ranchers who raise animals on North American farms; chefs who believe in using simple ingredients to craft honest food; and families striving to eat well. Pull up a chair and experience our true stories.
Bravo for the semicolons, True Story!
And bravo for a name that stands out. The organic-foods category is replete with back-to-the-land-ish names: Nature’s Path, Eden Foods, Wildwood, Big Tree Farms, Earthbound Farms, Simply Organic, Organic Valley. The True Story name operates on a higher level: it’s as much about meaning as it is about meat. Note what’s missing: any reference to animals, pastures, sunshine, farms, or agricultural processes. Now notice what remains. “True” speaks to all the implied virtues of the natural/organic lifestyle: honesty, trust, purity, integrity. And “Story” acknowledges that our choice of an organic/natural brand is heavily influenced by communication: how is it made? what’s inside? what’s left out? who profits? We crave narrative, a word that’s been overused into buzzworddom but can still mean a framing device, a clear and cogent structure for what we see, taste, and buy.
Now, I cannot tell a lie: True Story also made me think of this:
And I couldn’t help imagining the who’s-on-first conversation one might have when serving packaged meat products to friends and family:
“Got something new for you to try.”
“Well, I never doubted you.”
“No, really—True Story.”
“Story, shmory. When are we going to eat?”
But kidding aside, True Story scores high for distinctiveness and memorability. And that’s the truth.