Friday, October 28, 2011

A premodifying noun in retail: artisan for hand-crafted—not mass-produced

An artisan is a skilled worker or craftsman [1]. The word has Latin roots: the verb artire means “to instruct in the arts” [2]. Artesanos were craftsmen in Renaissance Italy. With minor transformations the word—and some artesanos, too—made it into France, England and other countries.

Today, retailers of specialty food like to offer their products artisan-style. These days you get artisan sandwiches and bakery items at Starbucks and—in California—at Peet's coffeeshops. And you'll find artisan chocolate, chips, ice cream, pastry, pies, pizza and salads all around. Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director at Datamonitor, says, that the word suggests less likely mass-produced, less processed and perhaps better tasting food [3].

Maybe customers are willing to pay a somewhat higher price for artisan-labeled goods and meals. But is the artisanship always present in the chef's recipe and execution, not just in the word? At your next artisanery visit, make sure that the products, which you get offered or served, are worth the label. Otherwise argue for a rebate and a premodifier drop.

[1]  YourDictionary:
[2] Online Etymology Dictionary:
[3] Bruce Horowitz: But is it Art(isan)? Reno-Gazette Journal October 28, 2011, 9A [].

1 comment:

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