Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

If We Can't Trust Snack, Crackle and Pop...

I saw an ad recently for Rice Krispies that are made with brown rice.  I am not a food expert (although I offered lots of thoughts on the topic in my January 4 entry.  That entry, one of my personal favourites, dealt a devastating blow to the cracker industry I'm sure.  But let's get back to today's topic, whatever it is) but I know that brown rice is considered to be nutritionally superior to white rice.  Up to this point, evidently, white rice was used.  It is good that there will be a healthier version of this cereal available and really good if, as the ad suggests, children will still enjoy the taste and eat the cereal. 

What seems less good to me is that this cereal is only being changed now.  I would expect that food companies know more about nutrition than I do and know it sooner than I do.  If they have known for a while that brown rice is healthier, why have they been willing to produce an inferior product and market it to children?  I think Snack, Crackle and Pop appeal to a young demographic.  The members of that demographic deserve good food.

Perhaps the argument would be that food companies cater to consumer demand and consumers are only now demanding ingredients such as brown rice.  But does a food company bear no responsibility to lead people to healthier choices?  Could they not offer us the information they know and let us make choices?  I suppose it would put them in an awkward spot if they produced various types of food and then explained why some of them were less healthy options.  It would also be awkward if they only produced healthier food and then lost customers who chose competitors' less healthy and less expensive options.  Producing healthier foods may be more expensive.  Consumers' buying habits are a consideration.

Food companies must take into account many factors when making product decisions.  As they are companies, the need to make a profit is one of those factors.  They want us to buy their foods.  While it would be nice to believe that they wish the best of health for consumers, and hopefully they do, we cannot rely upon them blindly to feed us well.  We have to share in the responsibility of understanding food and trying, with the knowledge we have, to eat well.

I don't hold any animosity towards Snack, Crackle or Pop but I trust them a little less than I used to.  Who would have ever thought that 3 cartoon characters could not be relied upon to lead us to healthy food choices?  Who else can't we trust?  Oh no, not the Keebler elves...


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