Monthly Archives: March 2014

Review of Project

For my project I decided to continue blogging about food, nutrition, and marketing of food products.  My goal is for this blog to be informative and to inspire others to make healthy decisions and become more knowledgeable about the products they consume.  So far I did two posts about nutrition and one on marketing:

3/26 What’s the Deal With Fat?

3/28 New Chips Ahoy Ads Appeal to Kids?

3/30 Eggs: Why the Yolk is Good and the Breakfast Sandwich Trend

I enjoy doing research on the nutrition topics.

I enjoy the marketing posts the most because I can use my knowledge of consumer behavior, which fascinates me, to analyze how marketers are advertising their products.  Through my posts I would explain what they are trying to accomplish through their advertisements and how they manipulate our minds.  The trouble with marketing posts is that I would like to do them on recent ads and I can not assume that there will always be new sources of content in a timely manner.  However, I could do some research articles about the practices of advertising.

The trouble that I ran into was that I am really trying to push myself to write posts that are at-least 750 words.  In order to do this I look at multiple articles and try to fully cover each topic as much as I can.  The marketing posts will be relatively short and I will use them stay active on my blog while working on the longer posts on the side.

 

Eggs: Why the Yolk is Good and the Breakfast Sandwhich Trend

Eggs have been under the microscope of society for awhile now.  There are controversially opinions of  whether eggs are good for your health, bad for your cholesterol, or is it just the evil yolk that’s bad.  Formerly shunned because of their high cholesterol levels, it is now known that cholesterol levels in the blood are more affected by the fat we eat rather than cholesterol.  Even though eggs are no longer on the hook for having too high of cholesterol there is rising popularity in the use of egg whites, who have no where near the same nutritional benefits as whole egg.

Egg yolks have quite the list of nutrients.   Ascomposition-graphassociated with better neurological function and reduced inflammation, the yolk portion of an egg contains choline, an essential nutrient for brain health.  As a lean protein, about 6 grams, eggs are a great protein source because the protein found in an egg can be absorbed and used by the body.  This is a major bonus because eggs are cheap protein source.  The egg yolk is more beneficial than any other part of the egg.

There is no difference between the shell color whether its white or brown, the color is only representative of the bread of the chicken nothing related to health.  Another benefit is that they keep fresh for three months, with the shelf-life of about two months once it had made it though  the packaging process.

In fact, the Harvard Egg Study of about 120,000 people showed that even those who ate an egg a day did not have a higher risk of heart attack or stroke. That led the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to conclude that consuming one egg daily doesn’t hurt your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

One egg a day, on average, doesn’t increase risk for heart disease, they can be apart of a healthy diet.  Unless you have a condition and your doctor recommends staying away from eggs, you should include them in your regular diet.  Only the egg yolk contains cholesterol and saturated fat, so have as many egg whites as you want.

Egg whites have a few benefits over yolks but they also have some shortcomings.  Egg white products such as Egg Beaters are made from egg whites, which means they must be enriched to replace the large percentage of nutrients that come from the yolks.  All of the fat and cholesterol in a whole egg are found in the egg yolk, so an egg-white product can be a great way to lighten your meal by adding some egg whites to one or two whole eggs.

Egg whitegg-egg-whites-Aes have taken over the fast food breakfast menu, being added to sandwiches, wraps, and burritos.  Multiple quick-service chains have decided to get in on the breakfast food market.  By offering breakfast  restaurants are able to have more sales because they are open more hours.  Of course there is also a profit to be made, eggs are one of the highest profit-margin foods out there and breakfast offerings tend to be very cost-efficient to source and assemble. Since the introduction of the Egg McMuffin in 1971, which has long been the top sandwich in the chain morning world, McDonald’s has gained 20 percent of its sales on breakfast alone.  The ultimate goal for restaurants is inserting themselves into customers’ daily morning schedules, said Peter Saleh, a director and senior restaurant analyst at Telsey Advisory Group.

Meanwhile “healthier” items are being introduced to accompany the growning concern for healthier food options.  Some of the healthier breakfast sandwiches out there.  This has caused many  new items or reintroduced as a egg white options.  By using only egg whites companies are able to cut out a large amount of calories, fat and cholesterol, while sacrificing all the good nutrients.  Also there might be a lot more than just egg whites in your egg patty.

 

New Chips Ahoy Ads Appeal to Kids?

Stuck at number 2 Chips Ahoy trails behind Oreos in the cookie aisle, in order to gain new sales Chips Ahoy has introduced a new advertising initiative.  The re-branding includes a new theme, from an agency that is new to Chips Ahoy.

Earlier in March Chips Ahoy reintroduced their retired Cookie Guy to bring back the fun in their cookies.  The Cookie Guy has gotten a makeover, after not being used since 2010, just in time to celebrate the cookies 50th anniversary.  Cookie Guy, redesigned to look more human, is returning to embody a “brand spirit” that is “lighthearted, playful, slightly mischievous,” said the senior brand manager for Chips Ahoy!  The campaign featuring Cookie Guy consists of television ads either 15 or 30 seconds long.  The ads which initially come off as immature and lame humor, might just be so bad on purpose.  There are set up to appeal to the cookie maker’s target demographic: cookie-loving kids.children ads

The new Chips Ahoy! campaign will also help bring out new varieties of the brand under the name Chips Ahoy! Ice Cream Creations, in four flavors: Dulce de Leche, mint chocolate chip, mocha chunk and root beer float.

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Advertising to children has been taboo for quite a while but it still be commonly found.  Data collected by Common Sense Media in Advertising to Children and Teens: Current Practices show that when you add in websites, product placements and cross-promotions, kids are pretty much marketed to all day.   Kids ages 2-4 see an average of 25,6000 ads a year and 85 percent of companies that market food to kids had websites with content for children, like viral marketing, online TV ads and branded items for download.

As adweek said “It’s a good play for the kids who’ll clamor after the product. The moms who do the grocery shopping may not be so thrilled that the brand is egging on their little angels.”

Check out some of the ads below.

 

 

 

What’s the Deal With Fat?

Fat is a necessary part of a person’s diet.  Fat is essential to your health because it supports a number of your body’s functions.  What can be tricky is that there are numerous types of fats both good and bad; therefore we have to be conscious of the type of fats we consume.  The fat that is found naturally in food is dietary fat which can be found in plants and animals.  Though fat can be beneficial its dark side is that it is high in calories and a consistent excess of calories can lead to weight gain and other related issues.  Managing one’s intake of fat can be trying because fat has found its way into many food items.  Americans on average are exceeding the recommended maximum consumption of fat by more than 50 percent.

Fat has always had a negative connotation and has always been distinguished as unhealthy.  A pile of oil atop of a piece of three cheese pizza may not look appealing but the brain swoons once it is inside of the mouth.  Fat is as much a feeling as it is a taste.  The trigeminal nerve is responsible for transmitting sensations from the mouth to the brain.  “Fats and fat-soluble molecules are responsible for the characteristic texture, flavor and aromas of many foods and play a major role in determining the overall palatability of the diet” (Drwnoswski and Schwartz 1990) “the sweeter and denser stimuli were perceived as lower in fat, despite the fact that the actual amount of fat remained constant.

Taste buds have five primary tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (a savory taste).  Fat has no such receptor but is extremely alluring to the brain. The affect that fat has on the brain was investigated in a study done on sugar and fat done by neuroscientist Edmund Rolls in 2003.  It found that fat is just as potent to the brain as sugar, “Fat and sugar both produce strong reward effects in the brain,” Rolls said. Scientist Adam Drwnowski  studied just how alluring fat is. “There was no bliss point, or break point for fat,” found Drwonski “The more fat there was, the better.”  This means that unlike sugar, which has a point of there being too sweet fat did not, there was never too much.

Surveys have shown that grocery shoppers who stop to read nutrition labels look first and foremost at the fat content of foods.  This has led to the over saturation of products that claim to have less fat or lower fat, and it has initiated a host of marketing tricks the industry uses to make it seem like they have cut back. “Low-fat”, “reduced fat”, or “fat-free” products are not necessarily healthy and they can also cause the consumer to mistaken the product to be healthier than it actually is.  Simply put, the health halo effect leads people to overestimate the overall healthfulness of a food based on one narrow attribute.  Studies have shown that people eat far more low-fat foods than they do traditional versions.  In order to reduce the amount of fat in a product food manufactures have to compensate for the change by replacing it with carbohydrates from sugar, refined grains, or starch.  The exchange for switching out fat for sugar is not justifiable because sugar has now been shown to be even more harmful to your diet.

Fat comes in many forms, a few that are recognizable or “visible” – table spreads and salad and cooking oils – or “invisible” fats included in meat, dairy products, and many process foods.  The different kinds of fat are usually seen as good or bad:

  • “Good” fats—monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—lower disease risk. Foods high in good fats include vegetable oils (such as olive, canola, sunflower, soy, and corn), nuts, seeds, and fish.
  • “Bad” fats—saturated and, especially, trans fats—increase disease risk. Foods high in bad fats include red meat, butter, cheese, and ice cream, as well as processed foods made with trans fat from partially hydrogenated oil.

Low-fat is an age old diet myth, what is important is the type of fat.  Some sources of fat are undesirable for instance Michael Moss, author of Salt, Sugar, Fat stated “Americans now eat as much as 33 pounds or more cheese a year, triple that amount we consumed in early 1970s.

Saturated fat has been demonized since the 1970s when a landmark study concluded that there was a correlation between incidence of coronary heart disease and total cholesterol, which then correlated with the percentage of calories provided by saturated fat, explains Aseem Malhotra, interventional cardiology specialist in a recent article at the British Medical Journal (BMJ). “But correlation is not causation,” he says. Nevertheless, we were advised to “reduce fat intake to 30% of total energy and a fall in saturated fat intake to 10%.”  “It is time to bust the myth of the role of saturated in heart disease and wind back the harms of dietary advice that has contributed to obesity.”

Sugar

Sugar is found in many foods, whether its hidden away or prominently displaced as a marketing tool.  It’s not unknown how alluring sugar is, but we’ve lost track of how much we are consuming throughout the years of the rise of convenience foods.

There are two types of sugar: added and natural.  Foods containing naturally found sugar include fruit, fruit juice, milk and dairy products. Added sugar, as the name suggests is sugar that is added to food during processing or preparation to make it sweeter.  There is a long list of ingredients that are classified as added sugar includes not just white table sugar, but brown sugar, honey, agave syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, and stevia.  Just to mention a few food products that have a lot of added sugar include sugary drinks, cakes, candy, fruit drinks, bread, pasta sauce, chips and snacks, yogurt, and cereal.sugar-in-food

Sugar has a great influence on how our bodies perform.  Jean Mayer, a Harvard professor of nutrition, is credited with discovering how the desire to eat is controlled by the amount of glucose in the blood and by the brain’s hypothalamus, both of which in turn are greatly influenced by sugar. Scientist are not the only ones who have looked into how sugar affects the brain, food manufactures have also learned how to use it to produce better, more tasty, and addicting foods.  Food scientists can determine a product’s “bliss point,” – the precise amount of sweetness – that makes it most enjoyable.

The increasing amount of sugar Americans are craving may be turning into a learned behavior, the sweeter food is the sweeter we expect it to be.  Throughout generations this produces kids who love sweet breakfast cereal, who grow up to desire sugar in their morning coffee, sugary salad dressing at lunch, frozen meals with sugar, topped off with a bowl of ice cream. As our taste becomes increasingly accustom to high amounts of sugar we start to unconsciously expect it.

With consumption at rates 22 teaspoons of it a day, the American Heart Association suggested in 2009 that Americans  should cut their intake down to six teaspoons for adult women and nine for men. Although here is no specific national guideline for sugar consumption.  Nor is there a recommended maximum limit for the amount of sugar food producers use unlike salt and fat.  In 2004 when the WHO tried to include the 10% sugar limit recommendation in its Global Strategy for Diet, Physical Activity and Health, the U.S. Congress — under pressure from the sugar industry lobby — threatened to withdraw U.S. funding for the agency.

Sugar has come under fire previously in the late 70’s when the public became concerned about the amount of sugar in cereal and the FTC looked into regulating how TV advertising was aimed at kids.  Some cereal’s clock in at 50 percent sugar.  Soda consumption once was looked as the major culprit of the rising obesity numbers, but now the intake of other sugary drinks, like sports drinks, vitamin water, tea and others are just as bad.

Released earlier this year, this research is the first to link on a national level the amount of sugar American adults eat to their risk of dying from heart disease after taking into account weight, age, health, exercise and diet, said lead study author Quanhe Yang, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  “The risk of cardiovascular disease death increases exponentially as you increase your consumption of added sugar,” says the study’s lead author, Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Consuming too much added sugar — in regular soda, cakes, cookies and candy — increases your risk of death from heart disease, according to a new study, the largest of its type.Excessive sugar is a big contributing factor to the obesity epidemic in America and other countries across the world.  Weight gain is just the tip of the iceberg.  Obesity is correlated with increased risks for even worse conditions including diabetes 2 and heart disease.

sugar

How can we curb our desire for sugar?  Be conscious about the products were consuming, ultimately we are in charge of our health and can not be reliant on outside forces.  Start with breakfast, the quintessential breakfast dish accounted for 31 percent of Americans’ morning meals, beating out eggs, bagels and other pastries, according to an ABC poll.  Sugary drinks are also ill advised, even fruit juices  like the beloved orange and apple, because the majority of nutrients and fiber and left behind when its sweet nectar is cultivated.  We can’t expect food manufactures to be solely responsible for our health, they are in the business of making money and that is what they will do.  It’s not that gloomy through.  Campaigns are fighting for regulation and the lowering of additives.  Also the new nutrition labels, which we wont be seeing for a few years, with address the issue of added sugars and more prominently display the amount of sugar a product contains.

First Look at Changes for New Nutrition Labels

The FDA made it its goal earlier this year, previous post Changes to Out Date Nutrition Labels, to update the 20 year old nutrition facts panel.  The Nutrition Facts label was introduced in 1993 and since then the American diet has immensely changed.  As the rates of obesity, as well as other public health problems, rise to drastic highs many have blamed the food products we consume.  Michele Obama has been one of the leading voices for making a healthier America with the “Let’s Move” initiative.

What will the changes look like?  Michael Landa said, “The proposed new label is intended to bring attention to calories and serving sizes, which are important in addressing these problems. Further, we are now proposing to require the listing of added sugars. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing calories from added sugars and solid fats,” director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

What will be different? Proposed vs old.

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  • emphasis and bold in some areas like calories & serving size
  • no more calories from fat
  • update Daily Values
  • amount of potassium & Vitamin D will be required
  • update serving size to reflect what is typically eaten
  • & more

This proposal has not entered a 90 day public waiting period for comments.  After the 90-day comment period, the FDA will issue a final ruling. They hope to complete that process within a year. Manufacturers will have 2 years to get the new labels on packages.

Weekly Review

The world of wikis.  I feel like there is still so much about wiki culture that I haven’t learned.  Like why would someone work in thread mode instead of document?  Someone please clue me in, still a little hazy about the double lines.  For our assignment I added content to Social Determinism and Digital Culture Divide.  Luckily for me I had already started working on social determinism so this week I was able to expand on it.  I’m very intrigued by the theories of whether we shape technology or technology shapes us.  This week I focused on learning about determinism and social theories.

Side note, since I’m attempting to move up in the world and get a job after graduation I decided to include my blog on my resume, particularly since I’m a Marketing Communications major and we’re all about web.  On my blog I created a special online portfolio tab which I found to be very easy to do and useful.