Today is the last day of 2015. Tomorrow morning many people will wake up with a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.

Since 2007 I’ve been working on getting more healthy. I started this blog in 2006 and “coincidentally” gained quite a few pounds as I spent approximately an hour more a day working on formatting, writing, connecting and building readership.

In 2007 I had a wake up call and have shed quite a few of those pounds (with a LOT of work and constant vigilance) and try everyday to keep those pounds off.

In the past 8 or so years, I’ve learned a lot, but still have a lot to learn.

Looking at the changes in the numbers of people who are overweight in America since 1991, it becomes clear to me that it is not just me. There has been a significant change. The maps in 2011-2014 are different, because in 2011 they changed the way they compared things, but still a strong trend toward significant weight gain.

is the food marketing industry responsible for these obesity_trends_1990_to_2010

I am no expert but I think it’s due to two things:

  1. electronics
  2. food marketing

Are Electronics to Blame?

I say electronics because of all the time I spend sitting in front of a computer for work and for play.

Emails and texts have replaced much of the communication.

Even many of my meetings that used to be face-to-face in real life have become Skype, GoToMeetings, JoinMe, or FaceTime. In the 80’s, I remember running from building to building to try to make the meetings on time… and doing “rounds” with each of the stops checking on the product development, graphic design, engineering shots and running out to the factory for new product start-ups. Now it’s usually considered a “waste of time” to meet in person unless there is a specific reason.

No one can deny the change in the world today because of the smartphone, the computer, videos and the internet.

Is the Food Marketing Industry to Blame?

But maybe even bigger than the internet, is the change in the food we eat during the last 20-25 years. The convenience of fast food. The thought process around food for celebrating successes and for comforting during sorrow. Processed foods in every aisle of the grocery store. Food marketing makes it so easy to choose what to eat for snacks, for meals and what to eat when we’re busy. Even when we have time, the foods we chose are not necessarily the most healthy when we’re relaxing, on vacation or taking a holiday.

Each morning, I have been trying read at least one article about exercise, diet, food, health and so on. One writer I particularly enjoy is a doctor from Canada who blogs at Weighty Matters. I’ll warn you, he’s definitely farther out on the on the “what’s wrong with food marketing” scale than I am.

At the same time however, when I watched this 13 minute video called “What’s the Food Industry To Do”, I feel there is enough truth in it to make me feel embarrassed to be a marketer.

Towards the end, he (barely) gives the marketers a break. “It’s their job to do so… They have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make profits… ”

Many of the brands and marketing campaigns that he mentions would be considered outstandingly successful from a branding and marketing standpoint. But this made me cringe.

What about the ethical line in the sand? Watch this. Then you decide if you think the food marketing industry has pushed it too far.

Please leave a comment below.

Food Marketing versus New Year’s Resolution
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One thought on “Food Marketing versus New Year’s Resolution

  • Monday, January 11, 2016 at 5:30 pm
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    Food is such a great thing to market because it carries with it an emotional response and always brings a flood of great memories. Lexicon Studios is a branded entertainment company that specializes in developing emotionally connective stories that target millennials and tell the story that needs to be told. Thanks for a great article Chris!

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