Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Smart Choices ~ Evil Marketing

If you follow me on twitter you know this whole "Smart Choices Program" thang has me all riled up. There are so many angles to what has me smokin' from the ears but one that has really really really bothered me today is this....

This is absolutely 100% about money. Marketing. Sales. Period. I don't care how you cut it this whole thing is an insult and a joke. Consumers should be insulted. This organization should be ashamed and the board members and nutritionists involved should be embarrassed. To attach your name and reputation to something that promotes obviously NOT smart food is just plain wrong. I also think that the ASN (American Society of Nutrition) has succeeded in completely ruining it's credibility - I'm perplexed.

In defense of the program, those involved are saying that we must start somewhere and meet people where they are at. This is supposed to make the average person in a hurry while shopping make a better decision. YO - slow down... hmmm, should you eat the donut or the Froot? hmmm, well let's see, I think you should eat the Froot because it has lots of added stuff so you can feel good about it. Feeeeeel good. It's OK, really, they even added some fiber so now instead of neon constipation you'll be movin' like a dream.

I am all for a program that would indicate better choices. Many people rely on front of package indicators like this for information about nutrition. The dietary guidelines may not be all that bad (although not ideal) but when you look at the approved list of foods it becomes mind boggling. Fortifying an otherwise not so great food makes it qualify for the check mark. I would say the criteria are flawed.

If you want to meet people where they are inform them, educate them. Teach them that high fructose corn syrup provides zero nutritional value and is probably making their kids bounce off the wall every day. Teach them that just because you add vitamins and minerals to something doesn't take away the fact that it is crap. Help them wean themselves from sugar. Instead of shoving a bowl of Cocoa Puffs in front of your kid, give them a bowl of Cheerios (which did make the list) and if they need sweetness to choke it down throw a spoonful of sugar on it and over time make the spoonful smaller. I totally get the whole baby steps and meeting people where they are... really, I do. I'm all about baby steps.

I'm going to wrap up this particular rant with a list of some of the foods that made the cut.

Teddy Grahams and Fruit Roll-ups ... (this kills me because parents are fooling themselves with these)
Bagel-Fuls with cherry filling and cream cheese
Cocoa Krispies
Corn Pops
Lucky Charms
Cocoa Puffs
Apple Jacks


9 Responses to "Smart Choices ~ Evil Marketing"
  1. Heatherlyn said...
    September 8, 2009 at 8:44 AM

    I agree with you. The best way to teach people is not just to "meet them 1/2 way" but to be really honest and truthful.

    I would rather have a site that tells how to make healthy food yummier or more convenient. And that teaches HOW our bodies digest and absorb nutrients, because just injesting somthing doesn't gurantee that it will be absorbed.

  2. Heatherlyn said...
    September 8, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    Oh, and I have to ask, are people really fooled? Very few processed things are actually good for you.

  3. Margo said...
    September 8, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    this makes me sick, but it doesn't surprise me. Maybe all those things that even this group says have an "x" shouldn't be on the shelves to begin with. meeting people where they're at says to me - let them eat whatever they want for breakfast first - lets work on lunch and dinner and eating real, whole foods for those two meals. Breakfast is traditionally the hardest meal to change psychologically and most of what is offered on the shelves of grocery stores is crap of one kind or another.

  4. A Busy Mommy said...
    September 8, 2009 at 11:11 AM

    Crazy isn't it! In Canada we have the "health check' program - very similar! It includes foods like you've listed here, many of the Campbells condenced soup (holy sodium much?)

    Basically folks..if it's premade, prepackaged or pre anything it isn't that good for you.

  5. Aliceson said...
    September 8, 2009 at 2:14 PM

    Right on Fiona! I was outraged last week when I read the new snack policy at my kids' school. They gave a list of approved snacks the children can bring to school. Right in between fresh fruit and string cheese were fruit roll-ups and Oreo cookies. Excuse me?

  6. Shady Lady said...
    September 8, 2009 at 9:51 PM

    High fructose corn syrup isn't bad for you...just ask them. It's the same as sugar. Yeah, right!!

  7. Brittany at Mommy Words said...
    September 9, 2009 at 8:26 AM

    What! I can't believe fruit roll ups are on there...I mean at least the cereal has some grain in it but FRUIT ROLL ups! I am ticked now too! Just found your blog!

  8. Lynette said...
    September 10, 2009 at 7:55 PM

    If it is packaged or pre-made, it is going to have chemicals, preservatives, sugars. The irony is - the more packaging there is, the more it appeals to kids - like a gift-wrapped present, right - hardly like food! And the more gimmicks in the wrappers, the more expensive the product is. What happened to the good old-fashioned apple as an acceptable snack?!

  9. Nicole (NicoleLJ) said...
    September 11, 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Un-freaking-believable! I agree, this is asinine.

    I don't know why, but since you first tweeted about it I just keep thinking about how, about 10 or so years ago, it was all the rage to sit down with mothers of obese kids with the cameras rolling and point out that just because Kool-Aid or whatever had pictures of fruit on it did NOT mean that it contained actual fruit. Seems like every time I turned on the TV for awhile there someone was trumpeting about false marketing: Kiwis on the packaging does not make something an actual health food.

    I find this campaign particularly asinine because it's like the opposite of the previous movement. It's saying "believe the picture of the fruit on the packaging really means that this is healthy." Next they'll try and convince us that Froot loops are the same as/as good as fruit.


    (And I enjoyed meeting you last night! You're too cute!)


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