Business Magazine

Is Marketing Responsible for Obesity in America?

By Chrisbrown @ChrisBrown330

Obesity and overweight in America CDC websiteAs a marketer, at first I was upset, but now I feel there is a huge opportunity.

When marketers hang their heads in shame – it’s an opportunity for NPD – new product development!

After reading The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Foods called to my attention by Dr. Barbara Berkley,  I realize there is a tremendous opportunity for new product development and marketing in the food industry.

Michael Moss details examples of the market research and marketing of products that consumers crave… which has resulted in the obesity epidemic:

“Discover what consumers want to buy and give it to them with both barrels. Sell more, keep your job! How do marketers often translate these ‘rules’ into action on food? Our limbic brains love sugar, fat, salt. . . . So formulate products to deliver these. Perhaps add low-cost ingredients to boost profit margins. Then ‘supersize’ to sell more. . . . And advertise/promote to lock in ‘heavy users.’ Plenty of guilt to go around here!”

The New Product Development Challenge:

To create and market healthy (low fat, low sugar and low sodium) convenient foods that deliver a balance of vitamin/minerals AND tastes good.

Intellectually we can know certain foods are “not good” for us, but they taste so good, they become hard to resist. Addicting actually.

In the last 5 years I’ve been trying to focus on becoming more healthy, learning how to how to change my eating habits and exercise behavior. It’s amazing how easy and difficult at the same time it can be.

With the Obesity Epidemic in the United States soaring, (almost 70% of the USA is overweight or obese) I know I’m not the only marketing professional concerned with this! I believe that there is a tremendous marketing opportunity here. As marketers, we must figure out a way to market the healthy food better.

The secret to making it happen? Follow the money. Some QSR and casual dining restaurants are finding that healthier choices improve sales.

Comments please!


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