Chew On This

January 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment

Having read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation a few years ago, I was excited to read another one of his books. There are a lot of similarities between the two but I definitely learned a few new things from Chew On This. Here are some points and facts which I found particularly interesting:

  • NeuroMarketing – some companies who wish to market to children use this technique. Scientists put a child in a brain scanner and study their neural activity as they watch commercials.
  • A sample school lunch menu: M – Lasagna with garlic bread; T – Subway; W – McDonald’s; Th – Burger King; F – Potato bar with toppings (T-Th remain the same all year).
  • “In a struggling Minnesota school district, General Mills gave $250 a month to ten elementary-school teachers. In return the teachers agreed to cover their cars in a vinyl wrap advertising a breakfast cereal named after a type of candy: Reece’s Puffs. General Mills called the teachers ‘freelance brand managers'”.
  • There is a section describing chicken slaughterhouses which saddens me too much to even repeat it.
  • Burger King in Baghdad – there are pictures of soldiers in full camo with machine guns strapped to their back in line at Burger King. Apparently at times it’s difficult for fast food companies to transport items to these restaurants due to roads being blown up and such.

Chew On This starts out with an overview and history of the fast food industry. While comprehensive, if you’ve watched the first 20 minutes of Food, Inc. it’s stuff you probably already know. Still, it’s a nice review. The book heavily stresses the impact of our current food culture on children – marketing to them, diseases they obtain resulting from diet, bad choices available in schools, etc. At the end there’s a section for teachers suggesting topics to discuss with students and  also a section there about what you can do to take action. Overall it’s a good book with a great message.

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