Pete Souza/White House
Food companies wanting to do something to prevent childhood obesity are in a bind. Preventing obesity means staying active, eating real, not processed, foods, and reserving sugary drinks for special occasions. None of this is good for the processed food business. At best, food and beverage companies can make their products a bit less junky and back off from marketing to children. In return, they can use the small changes they make for marketing purposes.
Perhaps as a result of Michelle Obama's campaign (read my post here), companies are falling all over themselves—and with much fanfare—to tweak their products.
Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA): By all reports, GMA members applauded Mrs. Obama's remarks. GMA says its member companies are already doing what she asked.
Parke Wilde, a professor at the Tufts School of Nutrition (and food policy blogger), gave a talk at that meeting in a session dismissively titled, "The New Foodism." His comment:
Take that, you new foodists!
Mars must think it knows more than the FDA about how to label food packages. The company is developing its own version of front-of-package labels, volunteering to put calories on the front of its multi-pack candies. It's leaving that number (210), however, on the back of its smaller, candy-store packs. Mars's new labeling plans follow the complex scheme used in Europe: I'm guessing this is their bold attempt to start using the traffic-light system it thinks the FDA might adopt.