Food Ads: Can You Spot the Health-Washing ?

Posted on 03/24/2015 by Left Coast

Everybody is on the healthy food bandwagon these days. And rightly so. Consumers are calling for more transparency about what is in their food and how it’s made.

We see fast food giants launching campaigns to repair their less than stellar reputations that bring to mind pink slime, obesity and factory farms with deplorable conditions.

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  Photo credit left A&W Canada. Photo credit right

Last year the king of all fast food chains, McDonald’s, sales were the lowest they have been in a decade with millenials losing their appetite for cheap eats. Instead they’re opting for healthier, more transparent, personalized options. Cue the desperate “real food” ads:

We also see major food corporations buying up small, socially responsible brands like Annie’s Homegrown and Stoneyfield Farm left and right. And recently Takepart‘s article “Food Industry Money Talks, and it says Kraft Singles and Coke Are Healthy” reported that the Academy of American Nutrition and Dietetics appeared to endorse Kraft Singles processed cheese as a healthy “Kids Eat Right” selection.

Thankfully there are industry watchdogs like Oxfam’s Behind the Brands that scores food companies on transparency and social and environmental responsibility. Or you can check out B-Corps (certified Benefit Corporations) which are vetted by a third party for their sustainability practices.

The big question is: are companies really cleaning up their act or just doing a little creative damage control? Can you spot which ones actually walk the talk? We’d love to discuss. Share your comments.

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