April 28 2016
One News Now
featuring Julie Gunlock
There's a new chapter in the "eat this, not that" movement, and it's providing plenty of food for thought.
Several corporations are offering or testing items that aim to please all kinds of consumers. Mars Food is but one example. The maker of various products from candy to Uncle Ben's Rice recently announced a new global Health and Wellbeing Ambition to create and promote what it calls "healthier food choices and to encourage consumers to cook and share healthier meals with others."
However, USA Today and other publications point out that one part of the platform includes labels advising customers that certain products with high sugar, salt, or fat content should only be eaten occasionally.
"This is more of this desperation from these companies that are trying to simultaneously sell what some would consider unhealthy foods and satisfying the food nannies who suggest these food companies shouldn't exist in the first place," says Julie Gunlock, senior fellow and Culture of Alarmism director at the Independent Women's Forum.
"Moderation is fine advice, and I think most people understand that they shouldn't be eating a diet full of these types of foods."
Gunlock adds that it is a little strange seeing companies sort of vilifying their own products. Because of this, Gunlock wonders, "Where is the pride in your company?"
"I think we are in a culture now where…these types of foods, snack foods and sweet items, things that contain sugar, that are still high in fat, are sort of the new smoking," she says. "So there is this nervousness on the part of these companies to sort of have it both ways, both produce items that are unhealthy and warn people away from the products they're manufacturing."
Whatever the case may be, Gunlock doesn't think that's a recipe for business success.
Speaking of business success, Will Rosenzweig, dean and executive director of The Food Business School tells USA Today that this has everything to do with survival. "We've just reached a point where you can't ignore that if you're on the wrong side of this health and climate thing, you're going to be in a declining business," he says.
Even then, Gunlock says activists will never be satisfied, adding that if a company labels or removes an ingredient from an item, people will demand more. "Once you give them an inch, the activists will take a mile," she adds. "Activists are never satisfied."
As of now, Mars says candy bars will not feature the labels.