Food Marketing Vs. Your Health

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.


2 responses to “Food Marketing Vs. Your Health

  1. I don’t care what Domino’s does, they still make me think of cardboard.
    It’s something that I don’t often think about. When a surplus of a certain food is marketing as something else. What do you think of the USDA? It’s definately an organization that brings out a lot of strong opinions.
    What about eating more dairy for weightloss? Is it because it makes you feel full longer?


    • I think adding the extra cheese was a way for Domino’s to add some flavor to their pizza. According to the article, lots of people must have felt as you do about the taste. The extra cheese was a way of reacting to their very low ratings among pizza chains.

      The USDA has many good functions, but helping push cheese sales is not one of them – just my opinion. I know that there are differences of opinion about their food guide pyramid. Some people say it isn’t clear enough about what the better choices are. I don’t think it’s terrible, but I think it is important to know that there are big differences among different types of fats, as well as higher and lower quality carb and protein sources.

      Dairy for weight loss is an interesting topic too. I am not blown away by the research – it is not conclusive. Dairy can be a good source of protein, and that can help with satiety, which can help with weight loss. Beyond that advantage, I don’t personally believe that it has super weight loss powers. Calories still matter most.

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