Food Marketing, From iTunes to Lobbying

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The Pop-Tarts store in Times Square (see yesterday's post) is only the loudest example of innovative food marketing to come out recently. I've been collecting more subtle examples:

Using social media (and getting customers to pay for it): For 99 cents to iTunes, you can buy an app that gives nutritional information for products at Jack-in-the-Box or at McDonald's. As Mark Douglas of Culinate explains: "They want $0.99 to tell you what you probably already know ... Watch Out!"

Co-opting health professionals: Michele Simon (author of Appetite for Profit) writes on AlterNet about how PepsiCo hires distinguished health professionals and experts to give a company that sells snack foods and soft drinks an aura of health and wellness.

Co-opting professional organizations: Lisa Young (the Portion Teller) points me to a webinar on August 25 run by the industry-sponsored School Nutrition Foundation and the Milk Processor Education Program on what is surely an urgent issue for sellers of chocolate (sugar-added) milk: "Keep flavored milk from dropping out of school!"

Deflecting attention from diet: Lisa sends another webinar notice for September 14, this one for "skills & tools to enhance change in physical activity behavior." Its sponsor?

The Coca-Cola Company's Beverage Institute For Health & Wellness is a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Accredited Provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)—provider number BF001.

Plain, old-fashioned lobbying: Food Safety News has a nifty report on food company lobbying expenditures (huge), mainly on the food safety bill but also on many other bills that might affect labeling or sales of food products.

I reviewed these methods in my book, Food Politics. A revised edition came out in 2007. Not much change, alas.

Addition: Attracting school kids: Michele Simon sends this Pepsi partnership with Hy-Vee stores in Iowa. Parents buy five Pepsi products; Pepsi buys backpacks for their kids.

Presented by

Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. More

Nestle also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Her most recent book is Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.

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