Perfect timing! I just finished posting an article about the emotional pull of food marketing (Promises, Promises!), and a related topic popped out at me from the front page of the New York Times. The article, While Warning About Fat, U.S Pushes Cheese Sales, is a great example of the competing forces at play in the food industry.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is trying to reduce obesity by urging Americans to reduce consumption of many high fat foods, including a big one for the general public – CHEESE. At the same time, a USDA marketing push to increase cheese sales is causing profits from cheesy foods to soar for companies like Domino’s Pizza.
Why would a government agency support such opposite goals as health and cheese sales? It appears that Americans have left dairy producers with a surplus of whole milk and milk fat, because consumption of lower fat milk has increased significantly in recent years. An easy answer has been to use the surplus to make cheese.
By working with fast-food restaurants, new products have been developed and marketed by Dairy Management, the marketing creation of USDA. This is how Dominoes came up with a winner with 40% more cheese on their pizza. Of course, people love the taste. I remember a cheese ad campaign from years ago that had a great “gotcha line”: Cheese – It makes food sing! That’s simply brilliant . . . and this type of marketing works.
Here’s the bottom line. Cheese is delicious. It is also the largest contributer of saturated fat in the American diet. Too much saturated fat is bad for your heart health.
Be a responsible consumer, and check available nutrition information. Then decide if it is worth it to you. One slice of the new Dominoes pizza contains up to two thirds of a day’s maximum saturated fat intake. That is a valuable piece of information when you consider whether or not to help the government with its dairy fat surplus.