Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Jul 31 2008

The FTC number: $1.6 billion to market to kids

The FTC has released its new report on food marketing to kids.  The big news?  The food industry only spends $1.6 billion for this purpose, a figure nobody I know believes.  The FTC had to subpoena this information and I’m sure that companies gave the lowest number they could.  Kellogg may spend $32 million just for media advertising for Cheez-Its, but I’m sure it’s hard for the company to figure out how much of that goes for packages with cartoons on them.  The FTC press release compliments food companies for all the great things they are doing to protect kids from what they used to do.  It makes recommendations that begin with words like “work toward,” “encourage,” “continue,” and “consider,” but nothing much that says “stop!”  I think $1.6 billion is likely to be an underestimate but it doesn’t really matter.  The number should be zero, no?

Jul 31 2008

Note to The Economist: read the newspapers!

All The Economist has to do (see previous post) is read the press. Here are a couple of relevant items. What’s bad for restaurants is good for Kraft Foods. Its sales of all those packaged foods are growing. That’s what people are eating instead of going out, apparently. Next, the parent company of two restaurant chains–Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale–in the “casual dining” sector filed for bankruptcy. Why? Higher food costs and fewer casual diners. And McDonald’s is about to give up its popular dollar menu. I suppose there could be an upside to this, but I’m dubious. You think so? Go tell The Economist.

Jul 29 2008

Higher food prices are good for you? The Economist wants your vote

I didn’t know anyone at The Economist ever disclosed the name of anyone who worked there but Jeff Koo, who seems to in some capacity, sent me a link to the magazine’s debate forum.  The proposition for the week is: “There is an upside for humanity in the rise of food prices.”  The magazine invites your comments, along with those of experts.  Here’s your chance.  Tell them you think higher food prices are just what the world needs right now.  You don’t think so?  I certainly don’t.  Better let them know right away.

Jul 28 2008

FTC food marketing report–Tuesday!

Thanks to Michele Simon for the heads up on the Federal Trade Commission’s new report on how much the food industry spends on marketing to kids.  The FTC is releasing the report Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.  I can’t wait to see what it says.  View the webcast!

Jul 27 2008

Trans fat politics: this time, California

Following New York City’s lead, California’s hotshot governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has just signed a ban on trans fats into law. It takes effect in 2010. This, plus labeling requirements for packaged foods, ought to end the practice of partially hydrogenating vegetable oils. My prediction: trans fats are soon to be a thing of the past. This should have happened a long time ago, as there are plenty of substitutes. So the big question is whether the disapperance of trans fats will have any effect on health. I hope it helps reduce the risk of heart disease but nobody should expect it to help people maintain weight. Whatever substitutes get used will have the same number of calories. Why are New York City and California doing this? Because it might do some good and is politically expedient. Getting vending machines out of schools, stopping marketing to children, and getting everyone on bicycles is a lot harder.

Jul 26 2008

“acute” fructose makes fat

A recent study from the Journal of Nutrition helps to explain some of the fuss about fructose (as opposed to glucose). If you eat a lot of it all at once, it gets converted to fat. The lead author, Elizabeth Parks, explained to the New York Times what this has to do with obesity: “I think it [fructose] may be a contributor, but its not the only problem. Americans are eating too many calories for their activity level. We’re overeating fat, we’re overeating protein and we’re overeating all sugars.”

Jul 24 2008

coca-cola doesn’t market to kids (at least in Canada)?

My Canadian correspondent, Yoni Freedhoff, tells me (and his blog readers) that Coca-Cola has an ad in the Canadian Medical Journal assuring doctors that the company has not marketed its products to children for the last 50 years.  This is news to me.  Aren’t you happy to know this?

Jul 23 2008

Colbert vs. the Cookie Monster

Thanks to Stephen Laniel for alerting me to Colbert’s June 19 appearance with the Cookie–oops, fruit–Monster.  I ‘m not much of a TV watcher  but some things are worth watching!

Page 227 of 294« First...225226227228229...Last »