The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food
by Michael Moss
I highly suggest consuming the full piece here (45 min. read time)
Kelly Brownell, a Yale University professor of psychology and public health on why the processed-food industry should be a glaring public health concern: “As a culture, we’ve become upset by the tobacco companies advertising to children, but we sit idly by while the food companies do the very same thing. And we could make a claim that the toll taken on the public health by a poor diet rivals that taken by tobacco.”
“‘Stomach share’ — the amount of digestive space that any one company’s brand can grab from the competition.” — Michael Moss
Food companies spend millions in their product optimization process. “food engineers alter a litany of variables with the sole intent of finding the most perfect version (or versions) of a product. Ordinary consumers are paid to spend hours sitting in rooms where they touch, feel, sip, smell, swirl and taste whatever product is in question. Their opinions are dumped into a computer, and the data are sifted and sorted through a statistical method called conjoint analysis, which determines what features will be most attractive to consumers.” — Michael Moss
“People could point to these things and say, ‘They’ve got too much sugar, they’ve got too much salt,’…Well, that’s what the consumer wants, and we’re not putting a gun to their head to eat it. That’s what they want. If we give them less, they’ll buy less, and the competitor will get our market. So you’re sort of trapped.” — Geoffrey Bible, former C.E.O. of Philip Morris
“…the Lunchables team would delve into adolescent psychology to discover that it wasn’t the food in the trays that excited the kids; it was the feeling of power it brought to their lives.” — Michael Moss
Dwight Riskey’s (expert on cravings) theory on why snacking became such a big industry: “Eating real meals had become a thing of the past. Baby boomers, especially, seemed to have greatly cut down on regular meals. They were skipping breakfast when they had early-morning meetings. They skipped lunch when they then needed to catch up on work because of those meetings. They skipped dinner when their kids stayed out late or grew up and moved out of the house. And when they skipped these meals, they replaced them with snacks.”
Vanishing caloric density: when something melts down quickly, our brains get tricked into thinking there’s no calories in it.
My two cents: I can’t be the only one that forgets that each individual snack or processed food we consume is a business. And businesses compete and deceive. This piece shows what goes on behind the scenes for products such as Lunchables, Dr. Pepper, and others. Be intentional about what you consume!
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