0679604774 (ebook), 1400069807 (hbk.), 9780679604778 (ebook), 9781400069804 (hbk.)
Level 10.2, 26 Points
Includes bibliographical references (p. -422) and index.
In the spring of 1999 the heads of the world's largest processed food companies, from Coca-Cola to Nabisco, gathered at Pillsbury headquarters in Minneapolis for a secret meeting. On the agenda: the emerging epidemic of obesity, and what to do about it. Increasingly, the salt, sugar, and fat laden foods these companies produced were being linked to obesity, and a concerned Kraft executive took the stage to issue a warning: There would be a day of reckoning unless changes were made. This executive then launched into a damning PowerPoint presentation, 114 slides in all, making the case that processed food companies could not afford to sit by, idle, as children grew sick and class-action lawyers lurked. To deny the problem, he said, is to court disaster. When he was done, the most powerful person in the room, the CEO of General Mills, stood up to speak, clearly annoyed. And by the time he sat down, the meeting was over. Since that day, with the industry in pursuit of its win-at-all-costs strategy, the situation has only grown more dire. Every year, the average American eats thirty-three pounds of cheese (triple what we ate in 1970) and seventy pounds of sugar (about twenty-two teaspoons a day). We ingest 8,500 milligrams of salt a day, double the recommended amount, and almost none of that comes from the shakers on our table. It comes from processed food. It is no wonder, then, that one in three adults, and one in five kids, is clinically obese. It is no wonder that twenty-six million Americans have diabetes. The processed food industry in the U.S. accounts for $1 trillion a year in sales, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year. In this book the author explores his theory that the food industry has used these three essential ingredients to control much of the world's diet. He traces the rise of the processed food industry and how addictive salt, sugar, and fat have enabled its dominance in the past half century, revealing deliberate corporate practices behind current trends in obesity, diabetes, and other health challenges. Features examples from some of the most recognizable and profitable companies and brands of the last half century, including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Lunchables, Kellogg, Frito-Lay, Nestlé, Oreos, Cargill, Capri Sun, and many more.