Overcoming Food Addiction - Are Food Companies Your Friend?
Think about the last time you bought a soft drink, or a fast food meal, or a bag of pretzels or a even a gallon of milk.
Have you ever thought about what the motivation of the food manufacturer is? Specifically? Have you ever asked yourself, “Why did xyz company make this bag of pretzels?”
The answer is obvious: to make money. Even though it is obvious, most of the time we never think about it that way. We are sucked in by the images of deliciousness on the packaging or the marketing messages on the label that declare that the product is fortified, sugar free, filled with antioxidants, enriched, all natural, etc.
The truth is that every word and picture and color on the food package is designed to entice us to buy it. Millions of dollars are spent every year testing and studying marketing messages and packaging designs to see which message/design combination sells the most.
Selling food products is not a bad thing – far from it. Food companies make our lives easier and richer in many ways. As consumers, especially those overcoming food addiction, we just need to have our eyes open and remember why food companies exist.
Marion Nestle, a well-known professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University said it best:
“Food companies will make and market any product that sells, regardless of its nutritional value or its effect on health. In this regard, food companies hardly differ from cigarette companies.”
Here is a nutrition industry insider comparing food companies to cigarette companies. Overcoming food addiction can be just as difficult, and perhaps more so than overcoming addiction to other substances such as cigarettes or alcohol.
That is a sobering thought. As consumers, we need to become more aware of what we are putting in our bodies. Over the past 30 years, America has placed its trust in food manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurants. The result is an explosion of obesity and disease.
Trusting others with our health, especially those motivated by keeping their stockholders happy, is not very wise.
Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta said, “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
Food companies may become our friends - when they earn our trust. All of us would benefit from carefully reading the labels of the products we are feeding to our families.
As Marion Nestle said, “To satisfy stockholders, food companies must convince people to eat more of their products or to eat their products instead of those of competitors.”
To do this, food companies spend a lot of money on marketing and advertising to convince you and your kids to buy their products.