Is Healthy Food an Ethics Issue?
Daniel J. Schultz: Betcha Can’t Eat Just One
Reading Moss’ book, I grew uneasy as he described the marketing and engineering principles used to reach one of the most targeted demographics: children. Examples include the use of fruit juice concentrate, which can make up as little as five percent of the total beverage, to give the “health halo” to sugary drinks. Other packaging mistruths include the promotion of cereals that are more than 50 percent sugar as part of a well-rounded breakfast. Lunchables are packaged to imitate the cheerful appearance of a gift to make children especially excited to open and enjoy the food inside.
Since the 1970s, researchers have known that kids are attracted to higher levels of salt and sugar, which companies have used as an advantage for their products. Moss quotes Julie Mennella, a biopsychologist, who describes this as “manipulating or exploiting the biology of the child.” I was one of the kids these companies targeted and successfully sold their products to, becoming one of their “heavy users.”