Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

“AKA says: Great article, gets to the heart of the matter. Ever since I sat in my first packaging strategy meeting at a major cereal company, I realized there’s so much truth in what this article says – that it’s more about marketing terms versus actual nutrition facts for many companies. That’s why I started AKA (www.ashleykoffapproved.com) to help consumers, medical pracitioners, and the media recognize the difference”


Nutrition buzzwords make hay out of grains of truth

By Melissa Bell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 27, 2010; PW15

The plastic soup can looks as if it’s a single-size meal, a healthful lunch option for one hurried customer. But the nutrition label on the back says otherwise. Gummy fruit snacks show a shower of strawberries on the label, which reads “naturally fruit flavored.” Customers would be hard-pressed to find any strawberries in the ingredient list.

Because of rising obesity rates and a push for more healthy living, many new products in the supermarket claim to be low-fat, immunity-boosting, vitamin-added foods. Some brands have become more healthful. But many manufacturers are promoting a product’s healthful ingredients while playing down its less nutritional qualities. It is a food label sleight-of-hand that Bruce Silverglade of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit advocacy group, calls a “rip-off” for consumers.

“There are deceptive claims all over the place: low-fat, high-fiber, light. Definitions are used arbitrarily,” Silverglade said, adding that the unclear labeling is “dangerous for public health.” (more…)

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Imagine this scene. Cute, sweet 20 something girl sampling potion at whole foods to young, maybe 14 year old – he acts interested, reads the label, watches her as she fondles the sleek bottle and asks him in a knowing older woman voice “you know that red wine is good for you, right” he stutters and is silenced. “Well it is,” she authoritatively says (omitting the “because the people who are paying me told me so”) continuing “because the mineral in there, resveratrol, helps the heart muscle work better so you can lose weight and workout better.”

Well, I almost dropped my salad, but instead stayed to listen. “So the water has that in there,” the young one asked meekly. “You bet, you should buy one.” And so he did. And so I looked. Cardio Water…because regular water must not be healthy enough. Oh and cane juice. Because if it said sugar, one would say “why are doctors telling us to drink sugar water for our heart health?” And then erythritol – because if the sugar water isn’t sweet enough people won’t drink it. Ah and then the resveratrol, and a few other unworthy mentions. What’s more, the bottle is 1.5 servings so the 5 grams of sugar becomes 8 and suddenly the “doctors who specially designed this for us” get the privelege of providing us with a product that has more sugar and less nutritional value than a Gatorade (not that I’m promoting that, just giving you a refernece). Net net, when it comes to nutrition today a lot of doctors DO know what they are talking about and say that moderate consumption of red wine for some people can be healthy – and if not, you could always eat red grapes or take a quality supplement of resveratrol. But sadly, some doctors rely on their credentials to prove meaningful enough to get you to buy it…”why? Because my doctor told me to.” Your smarter than that. Even without your Cardio Water.

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Probiotic Added Yogurts – yeah or ney? Just because Jamie Lee says they work for your digestive issues, should you go out and buy it, should you believe it? Well in a settlement recently announced, Dannon opted to pay out to consumers who felt the claims the ads were making were not backed up by actual results (see report below). I’m not surprised as I have gone on record not approving these yogurts as I had my own questions – is the probiotic content viable? is it enough dosage-wise? and as a QUALITARIAN are these yogurts the best out there – are they worthy of AKA? I didn’t have the proof I needed, and I knew these weren’t organic and in many cases contained added sugar and / or preservatives so I said no, they are not AKA. I blame the companies some, but I also want to remind consumers that maybe when seeking advice for how to resolve digestive issues, celebrities who have suffered similar conditions may not be the best person to give such advice (Sally Field for Bone Density, Brooke Shields for longer lashes etc).

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According to Kellogg’s, their kid’s cereals contain vitamins that “help support immunity” …AKA says NO WAY!

Whether it’s gummy candies fortified with vitamins or cereals done the same way – the KEY ISSUE is the SUGAR.

We know that while vitamins MAY help – and this depends on quality and dosage – support the immune system, we know for CERTAIN that SUGAR suppresses the immune system and feeds the bad bacteria often responsible for colds (not a virus).

Parents who want sure fire immune supportive solutions should look to Nature’s Candy bowl – fruits in a variety of colors, nuts and seeds – as well as limiting the amount of sugar their child consumes…think Apples vs Apple Jacks!

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WSJ: FDA Targets Nutritional Claims on food packaging

Finally! Is all I can say.

Finally! Is all I can say. The above Wall Street Journal article examines the issue that led to a “Smart Choice” labeling on a box of Froot Loops (Thank you folks like Bill Mahrer for publicly outing this ridiculousness).

My take? I have a long history with food packaging claims -12 years ago, I sat in my first packaging development meeting (I worked for an ad agency whose client was a global cereal company). I learned quickly that what appears on the package results from hours of analysis and dollars spent to determine what will BEST attract the buyer.  What I also realized is that many of the 3rd party endorsement logos (even from “non-profits”) were “for sale,” and further more that some food companies helped in the development of the criteria for these logos – not very 3rd party, eh?

As a student of nutrition, I struggled with understanding these same criteria, which often represented one aspect of the nutrition picture. For example, “fat-free” =heart healthiest – but don’t we know that certain fats are very heart healthy, and that some “naturally fat-free” (like the statement that appears on Twizzlers) products contain much sugar so that they likely wouldn’t be heart healthy for anyone and certainly not overall body healthy.

Years later, after helping countless clients navigate the grocery store aisles and teaching them how to interpret a package (only one part label reading, the other parts were what specific claims did and did not mean), I was further convinced that we needed something to help, TRULY HELP, the consumer navigate the world in which thousands of new products enter each year. Because while it may be a bit of naivete and even as some have said, a touch of laziness, that has us turning to logos and claims to influence our purchase. Isn’t it really we just want to look up and be able to TRUST what we see is truth? (more…)

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Since helping with the launch of coconut water here in the US, I’ve wanted everyone to know about the benefits of this “Nature’s Gatorade.” And just last week the Wall Street Journal covered the growth and popularity of the product.

Thus, you can imagine how SAD and MAD I became when I recently saw the new product launches by ONE coconut water. Are these just naturally flavored coconut waters? No!

Soooo NOT-AKA.

These new products now contain Cane Juice – a fancy name for sugar. What was always good about coconut water was that it was a diluted source of natural sugar – we only got what nature intended for us, natural sugar plus electrolytes. With these new products, ONE enters the world of sugared beverages, a definite NO on the path of nutrition for optimal health. So much research and medical anecdotal evidence today points to the fact that added sugar, especially in the beverage form puts us at risk for obesity, is negative for our immune system, negatively effects triglyceride levels as well as insulin sensitivity, and may irritate the digestive system.

AKA recommends skipping these beverages and sticking with the original, plain coconut water. You can always add your own frozen (so they are like ice cubes) organic berries or fruit to it for some extra sweetness and antioxidants- from nature.

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Wow! I’m just working out in a gym at the gorgeous Glasbern Inn before my tour of their organic farms. Catching up on some television, I’m feeling pretty good about where America is headed…Oprah is talking to Kirstie Alley about weight loss and they are both nodding talking about how diets fail, how we have to work on our positive messages, understand that nutrition needs to be personalized…

Then WHAM! Pizza Hut hits with an add for the biggest pizza I’ve ever seen / they’ve ever made. 4 college-aged boys saying “wow, we got to feast for cheap!” And now, AKA is pissed. You see “feasting” or here I will call it gorging or bingeing – doesn’t ever come cheap…and at the end of the day, its not just you, the one who gains weight from overeating, that pays the price. I really felt we were moving away from the Supersize era. I am all for someone enjoying some pizza – but flying saucer size? Please, keep it to the movies. Shame on the Hut. Hope you at least pay your employees healthcare – its not fair to penalize us all for your poor business decisions.

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