"Tesco leads UK food label campaign against obesity" or so Tesco PLC and Rachel Sanderson at Reuters Group PLC would like you to believe. Apparently Tesco PLC are launching this £4m new food labelling campaign to help people learn what is in the food they buy and thus reverse the national trend towards morbid obesity.
"This isn't just about a label, it's about a lifestyle. We have made it simple to compare what's inside thousands of every-day foods so you can choose what best suits your diet," GDA campaign director Jane Holdsworth said in a statement.Sounds good doesnt it? Tesco and some others corporates have formed an alliance to help the simple consumer understand in a simple way the nutritional value of the food they sell to us. Perhaps this finally is the solution to the obesity epedmic which is set to result in a crisis in 2010 when one million children in the UK will be obese? Could Tesco PLC be so altruous? No.
The true story is very different to the above and what Tesco PLC leads is not a campaign against obesity but a malicious attempt by a pack of profit-driven conspirators to sabotage our understanding of what is healthy in order to obfuscate what is unhealthy. This corporate alliance doesn't care if consumers are able to understand the nutrients which they consume and half of adults and most children will not be able to comprehend Tesco's new so-called "simple" GDA labels. Thats right, most of the population will not understand Tesco's preferred food labels. Sustain, the campaign for better food, published research showing that almost half of adults and most children lacked the mathematical skills needed to interpret the new GDA labels. Not only that but 62% of people misunderstood 'percent of GDA' labels. In comparison, only 21% misunderstood the 'traffic light' labels recommended by the Food Standards Agency. Thus, Jane Holdsworth can hold up a 12 pack of Walkers Crisps and tell us how simple GDA is but she cannot deny that half of adults and most children lack the numeracy to ever understand it; and we can see her poor attempts to feed us lies. The GDA system being pushed by Tesco clearly does not work for consumers and our children.
However almost all of us would understand the Food Standards Agencies traffic light system so why is it that Tesco are spearheading a campaign which only serves to confuse us? Again, when it comes to Tesco we must look at the money to see what they are thinking. This is what Tesco is really scared of: spending several hundreds of millions developing and switching to healthier food once we all find out just how unhealthy the standard prepackaged Tesco food is right now.
For your information, those in alliance with Tesco for the GDA system which half the adult population cannot understand are Cadbury Schweppes, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Danone, Masterfoods, PepsiCo, Unilever, Somerfield and Morrisons. Boycott campaign anyone?
And those who support and will adopt the more ethical and simple Food Standards Agency's traffic light scheme are Sainsbury's, Waitrose, the Co-op, Marks & Spencer and Asda.
Sustain's children's food campaign spokesman, Richard Watts, said: "We are very disappointed that the food industry is spending millions of pounds promoting an unclear and unhelpful food labelling system. Powerful companies such as Kellogg's have been vigorously lobbying MPs to support this unclear and unhelpful system, which will do nothing to help stop the rise of childhood obesity, but will help to protect their profits."