The Problem With The Food Industry

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I get into discussions all of the time with people about how the average consumer is somewhat powerless to try and eat a healthier diet.  Big food companies spend all of their efforts making foods that you really shouldn’t be consuming and then they market and position them on shelves in ways that makes a person have to go so far out of their way to get an alternative that most never do.

Case in point, the new version of Gatorade, ‘G Natural”.  I just was reading some Tour de France coverage and saw this online ad.  Great job PepsiCo.  You realized that ‘normal’ Gatorade, the type that 99% of people know about, is not natural so you create a sub brand that is all natural, rebrand it, and then sell it through ONE retailer.  Not that I have anything against Whole Foods, I actually love them, but Whole Foods, previous to this version of Gatorade did not sell Gatorade.  Plus, because Gatorade seems to be sold in every gas station and grocery store on the planet, does selling this version at Whole Foods give the majority of Gatorade consumers a chance to try it?  Not even close.  Why should only people who shop at Whole Foods have access to an all natural version of Gatorade?

Going further, why even make the non-natural version anymore?  You took the time and effort to rebrand, why not take the opportunity to rebrand the entire Gatorade franchise and make it the all natural alternative?   Why do customers in low income areas with no Whole Foods get left out in the cold in their hunt for an all natural sports drink?  Is it because regular Gatorade is basically corn water (thanks to sweetening it with high fructose corn syrup) and corn is really cheap and therefore Pepsi thinks that all they can sell to lower income customers is a cheaper drink?  That is probably it, as companies like PepsiCo have done an outstanding job lobbying to kill things like the proposed soda tax in NY state.  I just love how they are positioning it as bad for consumers to pay more for things like soda and that it causes an undue burden on them.  THAT IS THE POINT OF THE TAX!!  The people proposing the tax WANT people to balk at the price and consume less soda.  Same reason why NY taxes the heck out of cigarettes.  You charge….. a lot for something that is bad for you and people might lower their consumption.  Has anyone besides me ever noticed that on average you can get a soda for less money than a bottle of water?  Both contain the same amount of filtered water yet the soda contains a lot more ingredients.  And it costs less.  And it is terrible for you.  Do you think that if Gatorade cost twice as much as water, kids walking into the 7-11 for a drink would buy the same amount of it vs water?  Of course not.  And that would be a good thing.  It is sad that companies like PepsiCo that have the power to affect real change in the diet (and therefore health) of our population are so misguided in how they proceed forward.

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