Reversed Argument Galore – US Food Industry on Sales

Reverse logic, you might listen to one being uttered once in a while, and as you recognize it, you just wanna pull your hair, and say “it’s either you are so obtuse or you are so evil”

A sample of reverse logic: ………..

I can’t, I can’t think of any, it just to mindbogglingly dumb to utter a reverse logic.

But I just (Sunday, May 30th 2010) read plenty reverse logic in an article in The New York Times, it’s about the American Packaged Food Industry resistance to reducing salt in Packaged Food.

The article can be found here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/health/30salt.html?src=me&ref=general

Here’s some quotes from the article, some contain high dose of reverse logic:

“By all appearances, this is a moment of reckoning for salt. High blood pressure is rising among adults and children. Government health experts estimate that deep cuts in salt consumption could save 150,000 lives a year.

Since processed foods account for most of the salt in the American diet, national health officials, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Michelle Obama are urging food companies to greatly reduce their use of salt. Last month, the Institute of Medicine went further, urging the government to force companies to do so.”

“By all appearances, this is a moment of reckoning for salt. High blood pressure is rising among adults and children. Government health experts estimate that deep cuts in salt consumption could save 150,000 lives a year.

Since processed foods account for most of the salt in the American diet, national health officials, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Michelle Obama are urging food companies to greatly reduce their use of salt. Last month, the Institute of Medicine went further, urging the government to force companies to do so.”

“Beyond its own taste, salt also masks bitter flavors and counters a side effect of processed food production called “warmed-over flavor,” which, the scientists said, can make meat taste like “cardboard” or “damp dog hair.””

“As a demonstration, Kellogg prepared some of its biggest sellers with most of the salt removed. The Cheez-It fell apart in surprising ways. The golden yellow hue faded. The crackers became sticky when chewed, and the mash packed onto the teeth. The taste was not merely bland but medicinal.

“I really get the bitter on that,” the company’s spokeswoman, J. Adaire Putnam, said with a wince as she watched Mr. Kepplinger struggle to swallow.

They moved on to Corn Flakes. Without salt the cereal tasted metallic. The Eggo waffles evoked stale straw. The butter flavor in the Keebler Light Buttery Crackers, which have no actual butter, simply disappeared.”

“Making deep cuts in salt can require more expensive ingredients that can hurt sales. Companies that make low-salt pasta sauces improve the taste with vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh herbs that cost more than dried spices and lower grade tomatoes.”

““It feels unfinished,” Dr. Dowdie, the Campbell vice president and scientist, said while tasting vegetable beef soup that the company prepared with less sodium for The Times. “The sweetness of the carrots isn’t pronounced. The broth, you don’t get an explosion of flavors.””

“Sugar and fat had overtaken salt as the major concern in processed foods by the 1990s, fueling the “healthy” foods market. When the F.D.A. pressured companies to reduce salt in those products, the industry said that doing so would ruin the taste of the foods already low in sugar and fat. The government backed off.”

“Rather than challenging salt’s link to hypertension, industry representatives, in the private planning meetings with city officials, cited financial objections: the higher cost of other seasonings and the expense of new product labels and retooled production lines. In a Feb. 1 letter to a city health official, the Grocery Manufacturers Association wrote that “aggressive, short-term sodium reduction has the potential to further raise food prices.””

(italics and bolds from me)

Amazing, cutting salt (which could reduces hypertension risk) would increase price, which could hurt sales, and thus shouldn’t be done. WoW.

I’m hearing “We shouldn’t do a (more important) right thing for the possibility that another (less important) thing might be reduced”. Gentleman, a lesson in priority, when you don’t have health, your money is useless, the value and benefit it can deliver becomes irrelevant to you.

In the article above, some members of the packaged food industry argues that the current packaged food, despite being unhealthy, already captivated the taste of American consumer and thus shouldn’t be changed, despite being unhealthy

Changing the current recipe to contain less salt, and thus more healthy, would hurt sales and that’s bad.

Industry scientist claim that they would lose many of the taste of the (actually junk) food and they seem to claim that in instances where taste can be maintained with less salt, this would require a more natural and expensive ingredients, and thus increasing the price of the (now high quality) food

What am I missing here? Are they arguing that a processed food that without salt would taste like cardboard should be maintained for the sake of fulfilling the American public taste bud? And that Americans shouldn’t be educated to eat more high quality food and eat less food?

Godddddd, I never see such a cannibalistic argument, “If we let these guys have healthier food, we would have less sales”. And you know what? that “we would have less sales” argument in still an assumptions, nobody knows that a regulation that force an industry wide less salt and sodium food would be bad for sales and profit. Unit sales might go down, but how about total revenue? and how about per unit margins?

If healthier food means more expensive food, then so be it, the US is already
among the most obese people in the world, reducing their demand on food through higher price yet healthier food would actually be doing them a favor

And so what if the food taste less good? You can go around drinking sodas, eating fatty bacon and steaks, gulping concentrated sugar, just because it taste great and don’t have severe consequences to health. It’s like they assume the entire nation is a bunch of spoiled brats who can’t disciplined themselves to have a balance life.

Even “the taste would be less good” is an assumption.

So, FDA, what’s the hold up?

One Response

  1. […] companies present unreasonable excuses as to why sodium content cannot be reduced in products:  https://sendy82.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/reversed-argument-galore-us-food-industry-on-sales/.   This blog provides an analysis of food companies illogical excuses and explains why these […]

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