Saturday, October 11, 2008

Soupy Sales

It's great to finally see some GOOD news for our culture of health for a change. This recent article reflects the fact that consumer demand is pushing the supply. In other words, if WE purchase healthy foods, food manufacturers will have to comply.

We are probably most familiar with the organic food phenomenon, which was driven by consumer revulsion over synthetics in their foods.

But latest example is from 2 food companies that are falling all over themselves to show us how healthy they are. Progresso and Campells Soup are competing over who has the least MSG in their soups.

I love this: Campbells launched an ad targeting its Progresso rival in the New York Times, showing a can of Progresso with the caption "Made With MSG".

Read the whole article here.

It ran alongside an image of Campbell's Select Harvest soup with caption "Made With TLC", or "tender love and care". Soon, MSG will be out of canned soups, just as Coca-Cola and Pepsi are competing for rights to use Stevia -- to finally get Aspartame out of diet drinks.

None of these companies would have done this if it weren't for ordinary people, making smart choices. Demand drives supply.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Food Fears

Everyone knows that there is a social strata to health. There always has been.

A few hundred years ago, when thin was a mark of poverty, and girth was a sign that you could afford enough food to over-indulge ... you guessed it, those on the lower socio-economic rungs were thin and unhealthy.

Today, thin is in. And, somehow, the tables have turned for those who struggle monitarily. They are largely larger, and unhealthy.

This study describes food fears of moms who are worried about their kids' health, and the ways they overcompensate for that lack. Researchers surveyed 306 urban African-American and Haitian-American mothers whose children ranged in age from 2 to 13 years. Among black families, they note, both food insecurity and childhood obesity are more common than in the general population.

The researchers looked at five compensatory feeding practices that mothers might use to cope with food insecurity and might also contribute to their children being overweight. These included pressuring children to eat, restricting access to certain foods, using high-energy supplements, using added sugar, and giving children appetite stimulants such as vitamins and teas.

Twenty-eight percent of the households in the study were food insecure, with the Haitian-American families more likely to report food insecurity than the African-American families. Overall, 25 percent of families reported using high-energy supplements such as PediaSure, Carnation Instant Breakfast or Malta; 13 percent used added sugars; and 13 percent used added stimulants.

Mothers in food insecure families were twice as likely to give their children high-energy supplements, such as PediaSure or Carnation Instant Breakfast, and three times as likely to give them appetite stimulants. They were also roughly twice as likely to pressure children to eat and to add sugar to a child's beverages.

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