Eat more soup. Have some almonds. These were my two biggest personal lessons from Food Technology’s Wellness 09 conference.
According to the Center for Disease Control’s overview of America’s dietary habits, the increase in obesity rates in the U.S. is staggering. And despite this, NPD Market Research shows that Americans still eat the same five basic meals for dinner in 2008 as we did 20 years ago.
Whenever I attend a show like this—with a peak into the minds of nutritionists and food scientists—I come away with the resolution that today’s the day I start my macrobiotic diet. But then, I’m prone to making sweeping large-scale changes…at least thinking that I will. Which brings me to the mantra expressed over and over again at the conference—“small changes.” The powers that be in the food nutrition world have pretty much given up on (for good reason) the concept that American consumers will ever kick our terrible eating habits, even with the strongest intention. They are now focusing their efforts on changing the food environment.
To help consumers fight obesity, food manufacturers are getting sneaky. They are putting really great stuff into the foods we eat every day. For example, they are adding more fiber into food products from noodles to gummy candy. What a fabulous opportunity this is for ingredient companies and food manufacturers to partner up to slim us down!
The government’s even in on it. Setting aside myriad examples of culpability on their part (remembering the food pyramid that I was taught) they’re now nearing their collective wit’s end about the overall societal costs of our “expanding” population. The conference wrapped up by touching on some of the regulatory changes coming fast that will impact food marketers. Many of these regulations will call for honesty on the part of food companies and food service providers regarding responsible portion sizes and ingredient transparency. So if you’re a food or ingredient marketer, the time to get in front of this is now. The consumer is increasingly in control, and with the help of sources like nutritiondata.com and NuVal, the tools are at our fingertips, and we’ll all learn to use them.
So while consumers learn to make small changes, for those food companies that continue doing what they did 20 years ago, big changes are in store.
Lori Colman, CEO
Colman Brohan Davis
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