Healthy Profits? The Proof Is In The Pudding… With The Low Fat Label And Smiley Faced Heart On The Package

Written by Grant Roberts. Posted in Nutrition News, Unified News

Walk down the isles of any grocery store and you will be inundated with happy hearts, check marks, better choice and other healthy looking logos that adorn food products alleging the product is somehow a healthy choice?

The Hudson Institute just released a report titled “Better-For –You Foods… It’s Just Good Business:”

Well it is business… “good” is  relative term, good for profits and shareholders… yes!  Good for consumers… not so much.

My view is this is just one more angle food companies have discovered to profit by selling junk / processed food to parents and children.

Unfortunately the public is falling for the scam spending more on foods the make “healthy” claims.

The overview reports:

However, until now, there has been little evidence for how companies can do well by doing good. In this landmark study, researchers examined Nielsen sales data from grocery stores, drug stores, and mass merchandisers; financial metrics, such as operating income, share price appreciation, and return to shareholders; and company reputation and favorability rankings to analyze whether or not sales of better-for-you (BFY) foods affect key business performance measures. For the purposes of this report, the term “foods” includes both foods and beverages.

The study concluded that food and beverage companies that have a higher percentage of product sales in the BFY category perform better financially. In short, sound strategic planning with a commitment to growing sales of better-for-you foods is just good business.

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies with a higher proportion of their sales in BFY foods demonstrate superior:

• Sales growth

• Operating profits

• Returns to shareholders

• Company reputation


The so –called “better for you” (BFY) foods are foods and beverages that contain no, low or reduced calories and products that generally are considered wholesome.

According to the report these products account for 40% of company sales but more than 70% of the growth in sales.

So… in case this isn’t clear to you. These products improve profits and returns to shareholders and the company reputation…


Question: What about the obesity rate?

Answer: No need to mention that in the report because that is still climbing.


The “lite”, “low fat” and “whole grain foods” messaging in my opinion continue to be the greatest contributing and anti-nutritious factor to obesity epidemic.

Ironically, the report was subtitled: The Obesity Solutions Initiative, but no reference was made whether the highly profitable BFY products actually reduced obesity rates.

Consumer, don’t be fooled, forget health promoting labels, icons and paid endorsements from organizations, instead look for foods that don’t come in a box or even have labels for that matter. Single ingredient real foods like meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts don’t need claims to inform consumers they are a natural healthy choice.

My greatest concern in the report, is the thinly veiled threat:

Public health officials and policymakers need to be aware of food and beverage companies’ core business goals in order to work effectively with them to address the obesity epidemic.

As though the USDA does not gratify, pander and stroke industry enough?  It would be refreshing if the USDA actually took a stand on anything that was actually in the publics’ interest when it came to advising healthy food choices based on “real” science.

© 2011 – Copyrights Grant Roberts, All Rights Reserved

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Grant Roberts

Grant Roberts is recognized as one of Hollywood’s most successful trainers/nutritionists and lifestyle coaches. Roberts received international acclaim following his work with actress Hilary Swank who captured an Oscar® for her performance in the Clint Eastwood film - Million Dollar Baby. Grants clients include Academy Award® winning actors, leaders of industry, world champion athletes, he is a consultant to the US military.

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