Saturday, September 5, 2009

For Your Health...Froot Loops and Fudgsicles?

This article in the New York Times illustrates everything that is wrong with corporations and, dare I say, capitalism. According to the article, the processed food industry has initiated a Smart Choices Program where they label their own products, based on their own criteria, to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices. Foods that have passed muster as a smart choice? Froot Loops, Fudgsicles, Real Mayonnaise and Skippy Peanut Butter - chock full o' sugar, sodium and fat.

Eileen T. Kennedy, president of the Smart Choices board, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and, in my opinion, corporate shill, defends these choices:

You’re rushing around, you’re trying to think about healthy eating for your kids and you have a choice between a doughnut and a cereal. So Froot Loops is a better choice.

Last time I went down the cereal aisle in a supermarket I had a choice between Froot Loops and Grape Nuts and oatmeal. Doughnuts are on the bread aisle.

Kennedy also said the program was influenced by research into consumer behavior which showed that, while shoppers wanted more information, they did not want to hear negative messages or feel their choices were being dictated to them.

So Kennedy and the Smart Choices board (cough, corporations) have decided that since consumers don't want to hear negative messages about their choices, they will just dictate consumer choices using a positive message - despite the outcome: more empty calories, more obesity, more heath care, more money spent.

The article mentions that Kennedy is not being paid for her work. But she is being paid by Tufts. Aren't they embarrassed to have her on their payroll? I'm a neophyte and I know more than her.

Suffice it to say, if you see the Smart Choice checkmark on a product in the supermarket, RUN DON'T WALK to the fruit and vegetable aisle.

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