From Fish Oil to 'Junk Food,' the Industry Is Weighing in on the NBJ Blog

Industry readers have posted numerous thoughtful and even provocative posts to Nutrition Business Journal’s blog in recent weeks, so we thought we would share a few highlights. As always, we encourage you to read our blog and share your own comments. If there is a topic or issue you would like NBJ to explore in our blog or an upcoming journal issue, e-mail Carlotta Mast at [email protected].

In response to NBJ’s post about WhiteWave’s launch of several non-organic Horizon products, readers wrote:

· “A growing number of companies which were offering organic foods have recently radically changed their approach and switched organic items to ‘all natural.’ Examples of this are WhiteWave Silk, Golden Temple cereals, and Barbara’s Bakery. The names of the products remain the same; the packaging is similar to their earlier organic versions, pricing is similar, but consumers are being confused, if not duped in the process.”

· “What’s interesting is that often times organic and conventional prices are surprisingly close. This may be the result of organic companies working on more modest margins and not spending as heavily on TV advertising. If the price of ‘NATURAL’ is SIMILAR to organic, it may be just a clever marketing ploy to the unsuspecting customer who might think that ‘natural’ is almost ‘organic’ or even better. ‘Natural’ products may be perceived as less costly and ‘almost organic.’ This may create a market opportunity, but ultimately it will backfire.”

On March 30, NBJ asked whether the natural & organic industry is pushing too much processed “junk food,” and readers weighed in with their own thoughts:

· “The ‘me-too’ organic food strategy of launching products that look and taste like conventional products but with certified organic ingredients presents the wrong message to the consumer: As long as there are no pesticides or chemical fertilizers used, it must be healthy. Healthy for whom though? For the planet or the consumer? Shouldn’t it be both?”

· “There is processed junk food and processed good food. A fruit juice may be a processed, it’s still good for health. So [is] dark chocolate … I think video tapping how food is processed and sharing it with consumers may help awareness and disgust quite a few folks.”

· “While I would agree that pushing ‘organic’ processed food doesn’t actually promote truly healthy food, I also acknowledge that there has to be a shift in consciousness around food in general. Quite honestly, I would rather see someone eating Organic cheesepuffs rather than Cheetos. At least that person’s awareness has shifted. Baby steps.”

Earlier in March, NBJ wrote about the dietary supplement industry’s response to the California lawsuit that was filed against eight companies selling fish oil supplements. Several readers provided some additional thoughts on the importance of product testing:

· “The question is the validity of the testing used to measure the level of contaminants in the products from these manufacturers. If it was found the contaminant levels to be excessive, then there needs to be attention drawn on the manufacturer.”

· “There should be some standard on measuring contaminants in those products. Fish oil is essential for the benefit of our health.”

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