Not a very seasonal story, but here goes…
Andrew Cosslett, the managing director (CEO) of the UK food and soft drinks (including, ahem, Dr Pepper) giant, Cadbury Schweppes, is, I am afraid, not too bright. Here he is, speaking to a parliamentary committee in London:
“Misleading labels are wrong and it is up to the food industry to change that. People are being deluded about what they are buying,”
“Mr. Cosslett used the example of a pot of yoghurt carrying a low fat label which he had bought recently, believing it to be a healthy snack. In fact, he said, the yoghurt contained more calories than a Cadbury’s Crunchie bar.
“Most people think of yoghurt as healthy. If you saw a low fat label you would be doubly convinced of that. It’s only when you got it home and look at the calorie content that you realise it’s not necessarily as healthy as it looks,” he told a parliamentary select committee investigating junk food.”
Well, Mr. Cosslett, where exactly did you look at the “calorie content”? Er, the label.
More to the point, it is worth noting that the ‘obesity epidemic’ has gathered pace after the improvements we have seen in food labeling in recent years. It’s not the labeling, folks, it’s the exercise.
Cosslett was, however, not the only moron at the banquet. David Hinchcliffe, the thuggish MP responsible for the ban on tobacco advertising in the UK, said there were “parallels” between the fast food industry and tobacco, and, the Guardian reported, called for more hard-hitting health warnings on food products.
Hinchliffe “pointed out that a McDonald’s cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake equated to a nine mile run or walk – something which would come as a surprise to many of the fast food chain’s customers.” Well, perhaps (I haven’t done the numbers), but that assumes that those customers would have otherwise remained utterly immobile.
“At the moment [Hinchcliffe complained], calorie content does not mean a great deal to people. Perhaps the message is not sufficiently blunt,” he said.
Translation: people are too stupid to understand.