Summary Response Example

“The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” by Michael Moss is a selection chosen from his book, salt sugar fat: how the food giants hooked us (2013). He starts off by talking about the night of April 8, 1999. This night 11 CEO’s as well as company presidents in control of some of America's greatest food companies had come together to discuss the obesity epidemic and how to handle it moving forward. These big companies in attendance included Nabisco, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Kraft, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, as well as Mars. This private meeting was held by James Behnke, an executive at Pillsbury. Behnke, being Pillsbury's chief technical officer had helped them produce many products, but grew uneasy over the obesity epidemic within children in recent years. Behnke decided he needed to take action after learning from a group of food-science experts “who were painting an increasingly grim picture of the public's ability to cope with the industry's formulations” according to Moss. 

The first to speak at the meeting was vice president of Kraft, Michael Mudd. he began to explain that although it is not an easy subject to talk about, it is evident there is an issue at hand that needs to be dealt with. He then showed statistics to support this by bringing up slides showing the current obesity rates of 1999. 40 million people were classified as obese. Moss later tells us one in every three adults is now considered clinically obese. During his presentation he shared a quote by Kelly Brownell, a Yale University Professor: “As a culture, we’ve become upset by the tobacco companies advertising to children, but we sit idly by while the food companies do the very same thing. And we can make a claim that the toll taken on the public health by a poor diet rivals that taken by tobacco.” Mudd then advised the food industry should incorporate more scientific knowledge to better understand why Americans are overeating. This would then force the food industry to look within their ingredients and maintain a healthy balance of sugar, salts, and fats. Mudd had mentioned creating a guideline for the nutritional side of foods especially when regarding children.

Stephen Sanger, the head of General MIlls seemed to disagree with Mudd. he argued by stating General Mills products satisfy the shoppers with dietary needs although most of the time it came down to most people buying what they thought tasted good. Sanger closed the meeting with no intention on changing General Mills approach towards dietary needs or advertisement guidelines. Moss believes it takes more than a tasty product to blame obesity on the consumer. He begins to explain during his four years of research he has learned that marketers strive to lure consumers with convenient and inexpensive products. There are a few ways to finding out what consumers want. Muskowitz’s who was hired by the U.S. army was the first to discover “the bliss point”. When big flavors with a distinct taste overwhelm our brain it is easier for us to understand we are full. When a specific product does not have a distinct flavor, the brain then cannot comprehend when to stop eating. 

In 1985 Heikki Karppanen, professor of pharmacology spoke at a conference about Finland's salt habit in the late 1970’s. According to Karppanen, on average each Finn was consuming at least two teaspoons of salt a day. During this time the country was having issues with high blood pressure as well as men in eastern Finland having “the highest rate of fatal cardiovascular disease in the world'' says Karppanen. Due to this, all food sold was permitted to have a “High Salt Content” label warning if it had a certain amount. Moving forward, the salt epidemic had improved greatly. If we continued to eat what they feed us, it is obvious they are going to continue to feed it to us. At the end of the day we can not blame them for wanting to make money. If they were to take all of the delicious snacks and processed foods we have grown to love they would receive more backlash than they do now for pushing these products into our grocery stores. We should really be pointing the finger at the FDA for ever letting these profiting food companies put this processed food on the shelves. If we were never introduced to foods with alarming salt, sugar, and fat content with artificial additives we would not be dealing with this ongoing debate. We keep talking about what these major food companies aren't doing for obesity, but where are the people in charge of what is allowed in our grocery stores?

One of the executives for Coca-Cola, Dunn, had told Moss about their vision in extending their marketing strategies in poorer areas where coke was being consumed more often due to to cheap price and good taste. They wanted to up consumption, therefore repackaging coke into smaller containers so it could be even cheaper. While dunn was on one of his many trips to Brazil he decided a coke was the last thing these Brazilians in poverty needed. He eventually left coke and tried taking his profession in the food industry down a healthier route. He realized later on down his while pitching snack packs of baby carrots that it is all about how you sell the product. He did this by turning baby carrots into a fun snack in individual packaged servings. “We are pro-junk-food behavior but anti-junk-food establishment”.