by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Junk food

May 26 2009

Latest court ruling: Pringles are potato chips (sort of)

Ah the British.  So ahead of us in so many ways.  A British court has ruled that Pringles have enough potato in them to qualify as crisps (translation: potato chips) and, therefore, are subject to a Value Added Tax of 15%.  Procter & Gamble, the maker of Pringles, argued against the tax.  Pringles, it says, are not crisps.  Why?  Because their shape and packaging are “not found in nature.”   Tough, said the court.  Pringles are 42% potato.  That’s enough to qualify them as crisps.  Under the law, crisps get taxed.

Pringles are 42% potato?  OK, but what else do they contain?  Here’s the ingredient list: DRIED POTATOES, VEGETABLE OIL, RICE FLOUR, WHEAT STARCH, MALTODEXTRIN, SALT AND DEXTROSE. CONTAINS WHEAT INGREDIENTS. (You will be relieved to note: No artificial ingredients.  No preservatives.)

Hey: potatoes are the first ingredient!  I say tax ’em.

Update May 25: Here’s what Advertising Age has to say about the Pringles-as-a-vegetable idea.  Pringles, it says, was able to supply the entire world with its product out of one factory in Tennessee, precisely because of its infinite shelf life and packaging.  Ordinary potato chips, alas, get rancid after a while.

Jan 2 2009

Happy new year: top anti-junk food marketing moments in 2008

The childhood obesity team at Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sends along its new year’s greeting: “great anti-junk food marketing” moments in 2008.  These mostly focus on progress in industry self-regulation (voluntary) but also on congressional legislation to restrict marketing and put healthier foods in schools.  Food marketing to kids is the point of food industry vulnerability.  Food companies must stop marketing junk foods to kids.  Voluntary self-regulation is notoriously ineffective.  Legislative intervention is essential.  Maybe this will be possible under the new administration?  Fingers crossed.

Nov 24 2008

Reverse obesity in New York City? Here’s how

The City University of New York Campaign Against Diabetes and the Public Health Association of NYC have produced a new report: Reversing Obesity in New York City: An Action Plan for Reducing the Promotion and Accessibility of Unhealthy Food.  I especially like the clear statements of arguments – on both sides – of doing something about stopping junk food marketing, especially to kids.  This report should be useful for advocates who want to influence policy.  Thanks to Lauren Dinour, Liza Fuentes, and Nick Freudenberg for writing it.

Nov 9 2008

Surprise: kids eat like their parents do!

I don’t really know why this would surprise anyone but a new study demonstrates that when presented with supermarket choices, even preschool kids choose the same foods their parents usually buy.  The moral: if you don’t want your kids eating junk food, don’t have it in the house!

Aug 9 2008

Popcorn!

This must be my week for being asked about snack foods. The San Francisco Chronicle (see previous post) wanted to know about pizza? Eating Liberally wants to know about popcorn. Same question, same answer.

Jun 13 2008

News: Wonderful new products!

The creativity of junk food makers never ceases to amaze. Try these.

Thanks to Michele Simon for sending information about Engobi chips, infused with caffeine, and lots of it–140 mg of caffeine along with its 220 calories in a 1.5 oz serving. That’s twice as much caffeine as you get in Red Bull!

And thanks to Jessica Anderson for reading her airline magazines and running across the “Hollywood Cookie Diet.” Eat cookies; lose weight. What could be better?

Aren’t you happy to know about these?

Apr 9 2008

Eating liberally asks: are solar-powered junk foods a good thing?

Eating Liberally always asks the most amazing questions. Would you have guessed that solar power could be harnessed to make Frito Lay chips? Not me. Here are my thoughts on the matter. And yours?

Feb 27 2008

Functional oreos!

Thanks to Dr. Freedhoff for passing along his Weighty Matters blog post about Voortman’s new Omega-3 Zeer-Oh cookies. He got them in Canada. Maybe we will get to have them here soon? OK, so sugar is the first ingredient. But they are “Zero grams trans fat!”