Well Being

Candymakers Want To Help Fight Obesity Now That They’re Being Threatened With Government Intervention

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candymakerAfter years of contributing to the world's growing waistlines, Mars Chocolate in North America thinks that candymakers should step up and propose ideas to combat the obesity epidemic. What would make a company that benefits off of your sweet tooth so eager to help make the country healthier? No, it's not a burgeoning conscious. It's their bottom line, of course.

With growing government interest in rising healthcare costs of obesity, the makers of our favorite junk foods realize that Uncle Sam might be getting more active in the effort to keep our country healthy. Vice President of Mars, Debra Sandler recently told a group of industry leaders, “If we don't [act], I worry that someone else will do it for us. … We need the whole industry to step up. … We are not judged by the leaders of the category but by those who do not take responsibility for change.”

The junk food companies are worried about proposals such as additional advertising and marketing constraints, not to mention increased taxes like those levied against soft drinks in the United States. The idea is that if the industry can prove that they're working to help fight obesity on their own, the government might not step in and impose stiffer penalties.

The game plan is actually one that has been used for years by other controversial companies like those in the alcohol industry. Many of their largest outreach and educational programs came about after high-profile attempts to impose “sin taxes.” The rise of Mothers Against Drink Drinking had a huge impact on the alcohol industry's decision to run, “Drink Responsibly” advertising.

For most companies, the limited amount of money that they actually have to put towards outreach and educational programs would be far less than potential profit losses from an added tax or stiffer regulations. Even designating a couple hundred thousand dollars, a relatively small percentage of their operating budget, for a “Health Matters” campaign could placate lawmakers and save the company from having to change its ingredients or marketing strategies. Plus, they get positive PR from looking like they want to help out. For these companies, it's really a smart move

Of course, the only problem is that these PR campaigns and business proposals aren't nearly as effective as the actual taxes or regulations that would have happened. It makes the companies look benevolent, and their products look more appealing. So they get to kep contributing to the problem, and have everyone's gratitude all the same time. It's only the consumers that lose out.

(Photo: Ryzhanov Artur/Shutterstock)

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