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Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. That means you will not see your comment when you post it. It will instead show up within 48 hours, along with my response if one is appropriate.

All comments are welcome and will be posted, even if they are negative. You just can't promote other sites or products in them.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at stevecarper@cs.com.

Otherwise, this blog and my Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse are now legacy sites, meaning that I am not updating them any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

My old website can be found at www.stevecarper.com/li

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on Smashwords.com or Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com or a whole lot of other places that Smashwords is suppose to distribute the book to. Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Superfoods: Are You Being Taken Advantage Of?

Functional foods - foods that have been enhanced with nutrients or cultures that are supposed to promote health - are something I've written about extensively in the past.

They may be the next big thing in commercial foods - in fact, they almost certainly are. The real question is whether they are just expensive but worthless add-ons or a real boost to health.

Alex Renton of The Guardian's food section has an intriguing article on the subject, centered around talks he had with leading scientists and firms at the annual Food Technology and Innovation Forum in Dublin.

The rooms were filled with scientists and salespeople from GlaxoSmithKline, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, General Mills, Unilever, Tate & Lyle, Cadbury, Mars, Tesco, Kellogg's and Allied Bakeries - all of them companies planning to make greater profits out of an increasingly nervous public's health concerns. The irony is that, in many cases, it was these companies' products, sugar- and fat-laden, massively processed and brilliantly marketed, that started those health fears in the first place.

'It is not fair to say that these companies are driving the health scares for profit,' says [industry analyst Peter] Wennstorm, whose own organisation, Health Focus International, analyses consumers and health trends for clients like PepsiCo and Tetrapak. 'But they are certainly exploiting consumers' frustrations. "Eating for health" is the biggest growth area in this market - and companies here are looking forward to a world where 100 per cent of consumer food spending is focused on the belief that you can go to the supermarket and buy health and wellbeing.'

...

The consumer actually wants to buy health and beauty while remaining on the sofa: our lifestyle is less active than it has ever been. Also, the consumer is prepared to pay the same, or more, for less, in terms of energy. These conundrums are exciting a novelty-obsessed industry. That's why Coca-Cola, a company once famous for employing virtually no scientists but armies of marketing guys, is currently carrying out 20 clinical trials on new health beverages, targeting hydration, heart health, bone health and beauty.

And the marketing methods in More and Less products are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Danone, the first brand to specialise in dairy products sold entirely
on their health benefits, this year launched Essensis, a yoghurt drink with antioxidants and Vitamin E 'to nourish your skin from within'. Danone also owns Evian, another brand that's peddling the idea that you can drink yourself beautiful.

The entire article is quite long, but well worth the read.

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