An interesting study [Download PDF] was published by the Hudson Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation last week. According to research
The companies with BFY portfolios showed a 50% growth in operating profit vs. 20% growth for the other companies. Although the Better-for-you foods account for only 40% of these companies’ sales, they were responsible for 70% of revenue growth. Shares of the BFY rich companies outperformed those of their peers on S&P. Their reputation ratings were 30% higher than those of their peers.
What you need to know:
While this is potentially good news, unfortunately, many of the better for you foods and beverages are still a long way from being healthy foods and beverages. Healthwashing of junk foods is an ugly habit that many marketers have adopted in recent years as ways to jack up food prices and to increase sales.
- How is Coke zero better than Coke? Does replacing sugar with potentially carcinogenic artificial sweeteners make the beverage healthy?
- Is a low fat cookie a healthy food? Or is it still just a cookie
- Is a cereal with 10 grams of sugar healthier than one with 11 grams of sugar?
While moving up from a D grade food to a C grade food is nothing to be frowned at, consumers would do better to REDUCE their overall consumption of processed foods. This, unfortunately, is not in line with the interests of the majority of the food industry, which wants to sell more, not less. This friction will continue to be a source of friction in the years to come.
What to do at the supermarket:
Try to buy less processed foods. Avoid soft drinks. Drink tap water. Don’t settle for health claims on the front of pack – read ingredient lists and nutrition labels to decide if a “better-for-you” item is really healthy enough for your family.