Monday, February 7, 2011

The Super Bowl on Food

Congratulations to the Packers! 

My husband is pretty stoked, to say the least.

What we decided to have for dinner: a green salad and golden carrots, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese. 

I love this dressing from Newman's Own; it's simple, a healthy fat, and goes well with any type of salad! 

What the commercial$ during the Super Bowl would have us eat: 

What we drank: 

What the Super Bowl adverti$er$ would have us drink: 

The beer "America" drink$: 

Good Beer that we drank: 



What we take to school/work/play: 

 Me encanta andar bicicleta con mi amiga Krystal!

Ok, so maybe Jared and Ross don't take the canoe to work... but they do use their own two FEET! 

What the Adverti$er$ would have us take to school/work: 

Well, at least the Chevy Volt supports reducing fossil fuel emissions - just use it with a carpool buddy! 


Is this what the United States of America eats?

Some thoughts: like I mentioned in a previous post, 2/3 of the US population is either overweight or obese. Is it any wonder why after seeing the commercials for fast food, processed food, carbonated beverages, and luxury vehicle after vehicle on the most watched TV event of the year? 

Alright, I realize that we can all make our own decisions, and many of us do actually know what's healthy and what's not. I also realize that most people are not easily swayed to change their habits. Certainly there is a relationship between consumer demand and what products are offered - if the consumer didn't demand the unhealthy, processed foods, would the food industry create it? 

Well... consider this: from 1990 to the publication of Marion Nestle's book Food Politics in 2003, "116,000 new packaged foods and beverages have been introduced." (pg. 25) And imagine what another decade has brought! 

Not only has there been an addition of hundreds of thousands of processed foods, but there is an incredible amount of money that goes into advertising. Nearly 70% of advertising and marketing dollars go to fast food, pop, and processed foods. (Nestle, Food Politics, pg. 22) "$36 billion in food-marketing dollars ($10 billion directed to kids alone) are designed to get us to eat more, eat all manner of dubious neofoods, and create entire new eating occasions, such as in the car." (Michael Pollan, source) On the other hand, the USDA 2010 budget for food and nutrition services is $93,365. 

Look at McDonald's latest advertising scheme that I saw all over Washington this past summer: 

"Served in Seattle... Grown in Pasco"

Sure, that's true, because Washington is the #2 producer of potatoes in the nation after Idaho. The potatoes are "local" if you purchase them in Washington, but they're the same potatoes you'd be eating in Colorado, or Minnesota, or Florida. I'm sure you've heard of greenwashing, and now we have an example of localwashing. 

Side note: I guarantee any Olympic athlete you've seen on a McDonald's commercial DOES NOT actually eat it. Or, check out all this video that Ross' cousin Blake shared with me: not obese guys singing about a Whopper. Is a salad really "chick food," or is it a marketing scheme?

All people are capable of making their own food choices and decisions. Food Stamps are now debit cards that can be used at any grocery store, farmer's markets, and to my dismay, gas station convenience stores as well. There is choice. And clearly there is a demand for these processed products; people keep buying them and value fast, cheap foods. However, I didn't see a single vegetable advertised during the Super Bowl tonight. Oh wait - yes I did - there was a tomato and lettuce on the Wendy's chicken sandwich. ?!?!?

If hardly any money is going into education and advertising for healthy, whole foods, and billions of dollars are going into advertising for processed foods (see above: Coke, Pepsi, Doritos),  then perhaps the FOOD INDUSTRY IS CREATING THE DEMAND.