To the various companies and businesses that supply us with food, I first and foremost thank you for providing nourishment and sustenance to mankind; your role in all our daily lives is certainly an important one. We literally couldn’t survive without you.
You have evolved and we’re now faced with brighter packaging, advertisements, and more promising products—you’ve changed the game for us all. However, I must admit that not all of your practices sit well with me; there are some aspects that I found to be quite distasteful, especially those that involve marketing. In my English class, we were recently challenged to ask a difficult and uncomfortable question and search for the answer. I asked: are food labels really beneficial for the consumer? Or are they actually for the benefit of the companies that create them?
As I dug into research, I have found that many of your labels are misleading—they cover the undesirable and unhealthy aspects and often find loopholes with certain claims. You portray “low-fat” and “no-fat” labeled items as healthy, when in reality, they cover up hidden calories that can quickly add up if not careful. You take advantage of the “non-GMO” label and label everything as such, even when there’s only ten GMO crops available on the market. And, what I think may be the worst of all, you have a track record of taking advantage of children. You play with their naivety and susceptibility to advertisements and make unhealthy food seem enticing, fun, and even a little healthy (for the parent’s sake, of course). You should be ashamed of yourselves.
I don’t farm produce or sell products to grocery stores and I certainly don’t have to worry about making a profit or selling products. However, as a consumer of both groceries and food, I feel I have the right to know exactly what is and isn’t in my food. Don’t find loopholes when labeling just so your product can seem a little better than the average. Don’t make marketing your top priority. Don’t take advantage of those who give you profit in the first place. All I ask of you is to provide customers with full transparency—no fine lines, no questions asked.
I want to know of everything that I’m putting into my body; food is supposed to nourish us and provide us with energy. I want to fuel my body with good energy sources; I need to know what’s in my food in order to fulfill this. Food is a basic human right that every single person needs in order to survive—don’t rob us from that by giving your marketing techniques and profit precedence over the needs of the people.
So, to all the food companies out there, I again thank you for providing us with food. We truly couldn’t live without you. However, I write this to you in hopes that you consider changing the labeling of future products and hopefully you change the direction of your marketing. Thank for reading.
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo