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Tag: marketing

 

Is your breakfast cereal “natural” or “organic?” Think there is not much difference between the two? You’re not alone. Fancy marketing campaigns specifically designed to trick consumers into believing that these two terms essentially mean the same thing are in play every time you see a cereal box. But the true difference between “natural” and “organic” is huge and one organization took up the challenge of exposing this practice.

A just-released report from The Cornucopia Institute found many breakfast cereals bearing the label “natural” to be loaded with pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and ingredients processed with unnatural chemicals.  To be clear, the report was not looking at cereals such as Lucky Charms or Pops, but rather brands like Kashi, Barbara’s and Annie’s Homegrown; cereals and granola which are specifically marketed as health-conscious and “natural.” In Cereal Crimes: How “Natural” Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label—A Look Down the Cereal and Granola Aisle, the analysis looked at over 45 “natural” cereal brands to determine how natural they really were. They also tested the products for the presence of GMOs. The results of the GMO tests were especially surprising. Even several brands enrolled in the Non-GMO Project contained genetically engineered (GE) ingredients.
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Remember the new “My Plate” icon that the USDA put out a few months ago? Part of the new campaign is releasing specific marketing messages to the public. This is their first message:

Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables

This is borderline revolutionary. Can you imagine if every American filled HALF their plate with fresh fruits and veggies? And what if they did that at EVERY meal? I don’t care what’s on the other half of the plate – there is no doubt in my mind that we’d all be healthier (and likely less overweight). I applaud the government for such a straightforward and simple message. In my perfect world, the message would add the words “fresh” and “organic,” but hey, we have to start somewhere. Plus, if this motivates people to eat more produce, maybe they’ll start to experiment with new veggies and possibly even visit their local farmers market. Maybe they’ll start to understand how much better a tomato tastes in season. Maybe they’ll buy local and…I’m getting carried away. As you can see, I’m an optimist.

More of these USDA messages are coming soon. Here are a few you can look forward to:
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Have you ever sat down and watched a half hour of children’s programming? How many ads do you see marketed specifically towards children? Between Ronald McDonald, the Keebler Elves, Captain Crunch and Tony the Tiger, there is no shortage of cartoon mascots tantalizing our children with visions of sugary and colorful delights.

According to a newly formed inter-agency Working Group (FTC, FDA, CDC, USDA), the food industry spends more than $1.6 BILLION each year to promote junk foods to our kids (foods high in calories, low in nutrition). They find every possible way to reach your kids using TV, the internet, video games, social media, movies, and even marketing in schools. Here is a shocking statistic:

Cookies and cakes, pizza, and soda/energy/sports drinks are the top sources of calories in the diets of children 2 through 18. Chips and french fries comprise half of all the vegetables kids eat.

Since when are french fries and chips vegetables? It’s no wonder that one in three children will be overweight or obese putting them at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other diseases.

Yesterday, this Working Group released a set of proposed principles for the food industry to use when marketing food to children. The proposal is designed to “encourage children, through advertising and marketing, to choose foods that make a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet; and contain limited amounts of nutrients that have a negative impact on health or weight…”

Overview of the Proposal:

The basic premise is our government is trying to get the food industry to market healthy foods to kids instead of junk food.

  • Applies to children ages 2-11 and adolescents 12-17
  • Defines what  “food marketing targeted to children” means
  • Sets separate guidelines for individual foods, main dishes and meals.
  • Gives the food industry 5 years to be in compliance with guidelines (by 2016)
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We are excited to announce that Gerri French has joined Be Food Smart as a Special Advisor. In her new role, Gerri is helping Be Food Smart grow and expand. She is assisting with marketing, national outreach, and building high-quality informative content for the site. This amazing woman has been a fixture in the Santa Barbara, California community for years and we are thrilled to have her on our team.

Gerri French, M.S., R.D., CDE

Gerri has been a clinical nutritionist, educator and cooking instructor for the past 30 years. In addition to her new role with Be Food Smart, she currently serves as:

  • Nutritionist and diabetes educator at the Santa Barbara Sansum Clinic
  • Nutrition instructor for the Culinary Arts Program at Santa Barbara City College
  • Adult Education Instructor for Santa Barbara City College, Adult Education program.
  • Founder of Santa Barbara Food & Farm Adventures, a local group that meets at farms, markets, restaurants and wineries to learn more about local foods.

Gerri is the former Food & Nutrition Editor for Diabetes Health magazine and continues to work with diabetic patients as a Certified Diabetes Educator.  When she describes her specialty, she says, “I specialize in translating the latest scientific findings into practical information. I love helping people purchase and prepare local and organic foods, or as I call it, Earth Friendly Cuisine.” Gerri earned both her Masters of Science & Bachelor’s of Science at California Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo.

Be Food Smart Co-Founder, Dina Clapinski, recently sat down with Gerri to learn a little more about her. Here are a few questions from the interview (remainder of interview will be posted on the blog tomorrow).
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