by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: marketing

Nov 7 2019

The dairy industry in Asia: a round up

DairyReporter.com, one of those industry newsletters I love getting every day, tracks the international dairy industry and occasionally collects them in one place.  Here is an example.  I never can get over how the dairy industry has worked its way into countries where populations never consumed such products and are largely lactose-intolerant.  The industry has gotten the word out that children grow faster and bigger if they consume dairy foods.  That’s all it takes, and Asia is a huge consumer market.  To wit:

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Jul 25 2019

The elderly: a target group for marketing functional foods

In a way, it wouldn’t take much marketing to target this group.”

That’s me, they are talking about.

As a senior citizen, I am deluged with scam requests to fix my Apple computer (I don’t have one), unblock my Social Security checks (they are fine), and deal with my failure to pay appropriate taxes (I do).

Now I’m the target of sellers of functional foods?  Apparently so, says this video.

Functional foods, please recall, are those formulated with added nutrients or other components said to improve health in some way.  You can think of them as dietary supplements added to foods.

Like dietary supplements, functional foods don’t have much evidence backing up their health benefits, particularly because they are largely consumed by people who are already healthy.

Do they do anything beneficial for the elderly?  Show me the evidence, please (and make sure the studies you show me were not funded by the makers of the products that are supposedly beneficial).

The purpose of functional foods?  Marketing, as all of this makes clear.

 VIDEO: How to target the ageing consumer:  Despite seniors showing a strong interest in functional food and supplements, the number of products launched with senior claims in Europe does not reflect the population which means brands are missing out on a huge market, says Mintel. Read more

Feb 11 2019

Food politics issue of the week: corn syrup in beer?

I am not a football fan and missed the Super Bowl but I gather it was a hotbed of food politics due to Bud Light’s Game of Thrones’ commercial accusing competitors of using—horrors—corn syrup in the brewing process.

As Ed Mazza put it (Huffington Post), this has to be the weirdest twitter storm ever.   Corn growers and the Corn Refiners Association versus Bud Light?

Weird, indeed.  Who could possibly care?

Bud Light’s marketing people, I guess.

They love the fuss, and put a full page ad in the New York Times to celebrate.

It says “In the Bud Light Kingdom we love corn too! Corn on the cob, corn bread, popcorn—( just don’t brew with the syrup (what you also call ‘dextrose’)…But, even though corn syrup is less expensive, we brew with rice, along with the finest hops, barley, and water, because I’m the King and it’s not my job to save money.”

Oh please.

To make beer, you need yeast.  To get yeast to grow, you have to feed them some kind of sugar.  This could be corn syrup (corn glucose is called dextrose), some other glucose-containing sugar like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or sucrose, rice (yeast converts its starch to glucose, or barley treated to convert its starch to maltose (two glucose molecules bonded together) and then to glucose.  Regardless of the source of glucose, yeast metabolizes it to alcohol and characteristic flavor components.

I imagine that adding a bit of corn syrup speeds up the process, but so what?  Bud Light wants you to think that using rice instead of corn syrup makes it better than other beers.

I’m not much of a beer drinker, so I leave that one up to you.

This is about playing on public distrust of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which isn’t even at issue here.

The real problem with corn syrup.  The Corn Refiners Association, which pushes it and HFCS.

We would all be better off eating less sugar(s) of any kind, no matter where they come from.

The documents (thanks largely to The Hagstrom Report)

Oct 11 2018

Annals of marketing: “Free from.” A Bakery & Snacks Special Edition.

From the daily industry newsletter, BakeryAndSnacks.com, I learned that “free from” is an entire marketing category.  Here is its collection of recent articles and videos on the topic.

Special Edition: The rise of free from

What is driving the free-from trend – grain-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, fat-free, and so forth – and will it have legs? Which businesses are already tapping demand for free-from snacks and bakery products? We look at the alternatives the traditional snack ingredients, and who supplies them. Also, a peak into the manufacturing challenges in creating snacks and baking in the free-from category.

Apr 1 2016

Weekend reading: CSPI’s Carbonating the World

Center for Science in the Public Interest has produced a new report:

It’s a lavishly illustrated and well documented investigative report into soda company marketing in developing countries.

Here’s an example of the documentation, enough to explain why Coke and Pepsi are pouring billions of dollars into bottling plants and marketing in India:

 

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For anyone interested in the nutrition transition from undernutrition to overnutrition in developing countries, this report is a must read.  Actually, it’s a must read for anyone who cares about diet and health.  If you do nothing else, look at the marketing illustrations from Nepal, Indonesia, or Nigeria.  They tell the story on their own.

Feb 22 2016

Energy drink marketing, Australia style

Alexandra Jones, of the University of Sydney’s George Institute for Global Health, was kind enough to forward the promotional activities of V, a New Zealand energy drink, on college campuses during orientation week.

These, to say the least, got my attention.

According to the company’s promotional materials (take a look!), it wants colleges to agree to let it:

  • Put used textbooks into college libraries that V carves out with V-shaped holes.
  • Give prizes including free product, cash, and “life-hack” recommendations such as “sneak booze into anywhere by hollowing out a baguette.”
  • Appoint brand ambassadors to hand out sample cans like “an energetic Christmas charity drive”
  • Conduct ongoing activities throughout the academic year including sending “sneaky ninja staff” into campus libraries to hide V promotions and prizes among the “less helpful, less exciting actual books.”

Here’s how:

We’re going to take an elephant-load of used textbooks and cut a V-shaped hole in the pages.  We’ll put in fake V cans with a super mysterious mystery prize in it.  Most of the time it’ll be free Vs.  Sometimes it’ll be a fistful of cash, but they’ll always have a life-hack recommendation with it.  For example, if it’s a beginner’s Spanish book, the hack says,”¿le gustaria ir a cenar?” is how you say, “would you like to go to dinner,” in Spanish.  As the hot girl/guy in your class and use this $500 for some fancy tapas and sangria (Spanish food).

I suppose this is meant to be funny and $500 ought to be enough for a good dinner, even at inflated Sydney restaurant prices.

Will librarians be amused?

The faculty, understandably, is not.

The campaign has been pitched to Sydney Uni.  Will the university agree to it?

The mind boggles.

Addition, Feb 25: Here’s an article about this.

Oct 21 2015

Canada’s new government’s commitments on food and nutrition

The Washington, DC-based Center for Science in the Public Interest also operates in Canada.  It issued a comment on the recent Canadian election.

Newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has four years to implement his public health nutrition commitments.  He and his party have pledged to:

  • Introduce new restrictions on the commercial marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, similar to those now in place in Quebec
  • Bring in tougher regulations to eliminate trans fats, similar to those in the U.S., and to reduce salt in processed foods
  • Improve food labels to give more information on added sugars and artificial dyes in processed foods
  • Make additional investments of $40 million for Nutrition North and $80 million for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Sounds like a new era indeed.  This will be interesting to watch.