Croakey has been hoarding some food items in recent weeks.

Below are links to stories on the new advertising campaign that’s making McDonald’s unhappy, on the junking of healthy food, and the health-washing of junk food, on the push of Big Food into poor countries, on marketing to kids, and more…

Unhappy meals (for when “happy meals” make you sick)

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,  a nonprofit organisation in the US that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research, has been getting a very good return – in publicity terms anyway – for its investment in an advertising campaign highlighting the health hazards of junk food.


McDonald’s is, reportedly, ah, not happy

Will some of the public health minded groups in Oz recognise a catchy idea, and borrow it?


Junking up carrots

Not sure whether this is funny or sad. Do we really need to market carrots as junk food to get people eating them? Apparently so, in the US, at least.


Health-washing the junk

Meanwhile, on the other side of the same sorry coin, the junk is being health-washed.

Californian public health lawyer Michele Simon describes how PepsiCo is “jumping on the marketing disguised as philanthropy bandwagon”, with grants that associate the company with such feel-good projects as school gardens.

She writes: “…these grants give credibility to the notion that we can (and should) rely on Big Food to fix our broken food system. But nothing could be further from the truth. PepsiCo is happy to spend relatively small amounts of money in exchange for getting to hitch its PR wagon to the likes of farmers markets and school gardens. Meanwhile, the sale of junk food and soda continues unabated.”


World hunger – a marketing solution for obesity-promoting companies?

Yum! Brands, Inc, based in Louisville, Kentucky, describes itself as the world’s largest “system restaurant company” (whatever that is), with more than 37,000 restaurants in over 110 countries and territories.

According to a company press release, the company is ranked #239 on the Fortune 500 List, with revenues in excess of $11 billion in 2008. The Company’s restaurant brands include KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. The company says it opens more than four new restaurants outside the US each day of the year.

The company is a big fund raiser for world hunger through this campaign.

It’s interesting how many of the companies whose products are implicated in contributing to globesity are so very keen to tackle world hunger.

(Thanks to the Public Health Association of Australia’s Professor Mike Daube for pointing out this campaign).


Social media marketing

An illuminating yarn from the Wall Street Journal on PepsiCo’s marketing of Gatorade (thanks to Margo Saunders for this pointer).


Art that’s too smart by half

Meanwhile, Smarties Australia has thousands of Facebook friends…and hours of fun for the kids (thanks to Becky Freeman for this pointer).


Expanding markets and waistlines?

We hear quite a bit about how the tobacco industry has turned its marketing attentions to developing countries, drawn by the lure of big, poorly regulated markets.

Big Food may be doing likewise, suggests this story on Nestle’s floating supermarket which is delivering its products to Brazil’s poor. The ship is reportedly carrying 300 different goods including chocolate, yogurt, ice cream and juices. Not everyone is impressed.


Green tea’s health claims overstep the mark

The FDA is not at all happy with Unilever’s health claims for its Lipton green tea.


Beyond Big Food

Of course, it’s not all about Big Food. This recent study from the US, investigating the impact of transport systems upon residents’ weight, concludes that: “Increasing the use of light rail transit for those within proximity to existing systems should be encouraged as a potential weight maintenance strategy along with other lifestyle benefits.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey