I was reading a fantastic piece on from the June 1st issue of Fortune magazine that I learned about from The Food Babe about how Big Food (the massive food manufacturers like Kraft, Kellogg’s, General Mills, ConAgra, Nestlé, Mars, Unilever, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, etc) is (or isn’t) dealing with the shift consumers are making to less processed, healthier food. Fortune has some interesting stats on how processed food’s share of the food industry is shrinking, and the big food companies are taking a smaller piece of the pie than they used to. Progress is slow, but it’s also clear. It’s a fantastic piece, and shows some of the ways a new CEO at Campbell’s has embraced the move in the market and tried to do better.
The thing in the article that stuck with me and prompted this blog post, though, is the reaction most of the Big Food companies are having – digging in. The reaction of most of them is not to embrace the shift and try to shift with it, but rather to lash out against it, blame others, lobby harder to hide truths, and deny their role in the issues.
Most of them take the position that the consumer backlash against them is because they’re big. That is, we view big as bad, so we’re going toward smaller, healthier brands just because we don’t like big companies.
As someone who is actively voting with my consumption spend on food, size has nothing to do with it. The reason why people are moving away from your products is because of the things you’ve put in the food, the way you’ve tried to mislead us into thinking it’s all safe and fine, and the way those two things are working together to fuel the obesity and Diabetes issues in the US – and all the other health issues that come along for the ride when those two are driving. You see, our best interests were put not just second, but last. All the while, we were told things were healthy.
I also watched a fantastic movie this week called Fed Up that goes into the same issue. You absolutely have to see it. You can see it on Amazon here and help support this site.
So, I’ll keep this brief and close here, but, Big Food, if you’re reading this, we don’t mind your size. And we don’t mind the hard work you put in and the way you try to feed as many people economically as possible. We mind the way you’ve chosen to do that, the things you’ve told us along the way that you knew weren’t true, and we aren’t taking it anymore. We’re doing all this work to live happier, healthier lives. We’d not only love it if you worked with us – truly with us – but did the same for yourselves. Helping us and helping yourselves is a great start to enlighten.your.body.