The White House has come forward and said there is too much marketing of unhealthy food aimed at children. In the US at least there are two battles being waged. The first is between food manufacturers, particularly those that produce high sugar, high fat foods, and a wave of anti-obesity campaigners. The second is between food marketers and the government over the proper labelling and marketing of food products.
It appears, the public cannot be trusted to make the right choices and the food marketing companies also can’t be trusted to market their food responsibly. The danger of over regulating, however, is two fold. Firstly we do not want food marketing to go the way of cigarette marketing, and have unhealthy food in plain packaging with pictures of heart disease. Secondly we don’t want people to feel scared to eat anything with sugar or fat in it, as both are naturally present in a lot of foods.
Some companies have already started voluntarily reducing the amount of sugar in food.
So we thought we would come up with a few new, alternative, ways for food manufacturers to responsibly market their products.
- Get supermarkets to put food with a fat or sugar content above 15% on a second floor, up 2 flights of stairs. If you are too puffed out to reach them, you probably don’t need to eat them
- Conduct a marketing campaign educating parents that it’s “cool” and very “Food 2.0” to have kids “Trick or Treat” with celery and carrot sticks instead of sweets. Bonus points for adding low-fat, low-salt cottage cheese to the mix.
- Instead of normal loyalty cards, get drive-through and roadside food vendors to give away “Buy-5 and get a free pass to the local gym” cards. The catch is you have to use the card before you are allowed back to the drive through. You could go one step further and say take away establishments should subsidise gym membership, but I think the fit will get fitter and the fat will get fatter.
- Only allow sponsorship of sporting events by companies that produce high-sugar, high fat foods. How keen are consumers going to be to eat a hot dog when watching an elite sporting match, oh wait scrub that last one.
- Go for kill or cure with sensory saturation. Every fast food order comes with a candle scented with the smell of a deep fat frier. Having people over? Why not whet everyone’s appetite by pre-filling your home with the smell of sweet and sour pork.
- Give obese people bracelets that measure their blood sugar and salt levels. They can now only buy food depending on where their diet is at. Actually that one is a little too controlling.
Anyway, there are some clever and funny ideas out there for how to reduce the obesity epidemic. Do you have any other ideas?