Friday, March 20, 2009

Marion Nestle on Food Marketing, Nutrition, and Personal Choice

Marion Nestle reports on an encounter with a room full of food company executives and, in response, sums up her philosophy on marketing, nutrition and personal choice:

They said: "If you object to the way we market foods, you must be against business." As it happens, I am not against business. But I do have problems with unchecked greed, the use of misleading health claims to sell junk food, and the marketing of foods directly to children—especially when marketing to children undermines parental authority and, therefore, the personal choice of parents. I most definitely do believe in personal choice—when it is informed. To make informed decisions about food choice, you need truth in advertising, the whole truth and nothing but.

From Marion Nestle, What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating (2006).


Suko said...

Very insightful post! Personal choice is important, but equally so is truth in advertising--especially advertising aimed at children (who seem to gravitate towards whatever is shown on TV).

(If readers click on the Marion Nestle link, they'll also be treated to articles about the Obama's vegetable garden at the White House.)

David Mace said...

As a consultant who has worked with some of the largest food companies in the world and with small, organic and natural food companies, I can tell you that I have tried to make them all more acutely aware of the need to make consumer needs their number-one priority.

Unfortunately, too often I hear excuses about lagging production technology and costs. Food is not the only industry that is behind the curve on consumer sensitivity, but it might be more important for our industry than for any other.