Menu Calorie Counts: ‘Personal Responsibility’ or Public Health Measure?

Big food companies have long pushed for personal responsibility among consumers—the idea that, given the right information, most people can regulate their own diet and make good choices.

Take McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson. According to him, the mega-corporation hopes to, “use our size and scale around the world to help educate, empower, and encourage our customers to make informed choices so they can live a balanced, healthy lifestyle.” Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association’s new public awareness campaign and accompanying Mixify website is another good example. They’re aimed at educating the soda-drinking audience with a “calories in, calories out” message to prevent obesity. Read more

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Water is the Enemy, Gatorade Mobile Game Tells Youth

UPDATE January 11: IAB Mixx Bronze winner Gatorade (for strategies and objectives in mobile advertising for their Bolt! mobile gaming integration) has completely disappeared from the IAB Award Winners Gallery.

If you thought Big Soda’s decades-long “War on Water”–part of their strategy to increase sales of soda and other bottled drinks–couldn’t get any worse, you were wrong. The latest assault, courtesy of PepsiCo, is in the form of a mobile game for youth that brands water as the enemy of athletic performance. Read more

Is Perfect the Enemy of Good? In the Food Reform World, Yes

At an August 2013 press conference, a frustrated President Obama stated, “I don’t know a law that solves a problem 100 percent.” He was referencing the painful fight over immigration reform. But food reformers should take his comment to heart. There’s no such thing as a perfect food policy or solution and those who pursue perfection are not only destined to fail, they may also unintentionally harm the cause in the process.   Read more

Why Is the CEO of the Global Anti-Poverty Group CARE Joining the Board of Coca-Cola?

In its continuing frenzy to silence potential critics, Coca-Cola issued a press release recently that announced the following:

Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., has been nominated to stand for election to the Company’s Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting of Shareowners in April.Dr. Gayle, 57, is President and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization whose poverty fighting programs reached approximately 122 million people last year in 84 countries.

Why in the world would Dr. Gayle want to sit on the Coca-Cola Board of Directors when Coca-Cola’s export of non-nutritious, sugary drinks to the world’s poorest countries is causing a new set of chronic health problems for those living in poverty — including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and dental caries (cavities)? The U.S. is already dealing with the phenomenon of food insecure families suffering from obesity, thanks in good part to overconsumption of cheap soft drinks that are heavily marketed in our poorest communities. Read more