America is living life king size and it shows on our expanding waistlines. There are some very unlikely parties who are showing concern for this issue, two of which is the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association and Food Marketing Institutes. These groups of food and beverage manufacturer’s and retailers are joining the bandwagon in a drive to control a problem which is gaining enormity into becoming an epidemic that would be obesity. America is eating large portions of processed food and junk food with a vengeance without a thought to nutrition value. (It’s one of the reasons we designed our cup holder to accommodate oversized beverages.) This carelessness is resulting in obese children and a population which is causing a burden on the health system with the advent of lifestyle related diseases such as diabetes and heart attack at younger and younger ages.
Life being as busy as it is the time to have a well balanced home cooked meal is literally impossible most days of the week. A simple example is most people commute to work with their breakfast in their drink holder of the car, a single cup of coffee. The heavy reliance on pre-cooked food or salads and sandwiches off the counter is a key contributor to Americans becoming fatter. Most food nutrition labels are on the back of the packaging where the buyer needs to make an effort to run through the information before making an informed decision about the health value of the product. Most people are rushing through the grocery store aisles picking up whatever they need quickly so they can also get all their other tasks done in the day therefore there is not enough time trying to read or search for the nutrition information and then decide to buy that eatable or not. GMA and FMI are looking at trying to make it easier to educate the consumer about the nutrition value and calorie content etc., by moving the required facts to the front of the packaging along with depicting the data in a more catchy representation.
This movement towards reduction of obesity is supplemented with 20,000 more nutritious product choices introduced in the market by the food and beverage industry. Major food giants such as Kellogg’s are very upbeat with the labelling coming into effect in the early part of next year as they also believe strongly in fighting the challenge that obesity poses to the health of Americans (yet unlike their major competitor, General Mills, Kellogg’s still hasn’t removed high fructose corn syrup from their cereals). Through better consumer awareness (again, just like searching for wheelchair accessories on the internet) which addresses the key decision maker who purchases the groceries and plans the menu of the household, the concerns raised because of obesity can slowly be addressed. There will be a education drive costing the industry almost $50 million to implement that will roll out to make the customer’s aware that there will be these labels and how they can utilize this information to make their household’s diet more nutrient rich.