The Lactose Intolerance Clearinghouse Has Moved.

My old website can be found at www.stevecarper.com/li I am no longer updating the site, so there will be dead links. The static information provided by me is still sound.

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.

I suffer the universal malady of spam and adbots, so I moderate comments here. That may mean you'll see a long lag before I remember to check the site and approve them. Despite the gap, you'll always get your say. I read every single one, and every legitimate one gets posted.


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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