After the “Don’t blame us” statement made by Pamela Bailey CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Association, one began to question the fact of obesity rates today, and who really is responsible for these.
While it is true that it is the consumer who goes into a shop, reads ingredient labels and nutritional information on packages and make conscious choices about what to buy and consequently what the family eats.
What is also true however is that manufacturers have, over the years developed several methods to make their food tastier, so that people will keep buying it, and methods to make it last longer, in order that it does not spoil and cause losses.
In this quest to maximize profit and minimize loss, several villains got added to food staples that people were buying:
- Salt and additive laden food became common as people looked for convenient ‘instant’ food being pressed for time.
- Processed food cooked in the horribly harmful hydrogenated oils became popular as these were used to increase shelf life of the food.
- Foods were laden with other harmful items such as high fructose corn syrup in order that it satisfies people’s liking for sweets and had them coming back for more but added nothing nutritionally speaking.
- Sodas and other sweetened beverages were made to look ‘cool’ so that more and more people consumed them.
It does not sound like manufacturers are not to blame. Perhaps we can give them the benefit of the doubt here. To begin with, they did not know as much about nutrition as we do now; did not know the harmful impact of what they were shoveling the consumer’s way.
But even if we do concede that this is so, you cannot rule out the fact that they are at least partly to blame for the obesity epidemic!
If therefore military generals actually say that the weight issue is a national security threat, then this threat is contributed to an equal measure by the manufacturers as well as the consumers. It turns out that 75% of applicants for military jobs are unfit for service. The main reason why they don’t qualify is the fact of being overweight!
So if the CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Association says “America’s food companies will keep making our products healthier,” I think we can be excused for being skeptical about her claim.
For most manufacturers, the bottom line or profits are rather dearer than the preamble to the Constitution, which is intended to “promote the general welfare” of the people.
Source: USA Today