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Obesity Epidemic Pushes Pepsi to New World of Food-Tasting Robots and Much More
The obesity epidemic has pushed Pepsi, the largest food and drink company in the U.S., into a strange new world of robots which can taste food like humans, to drinkifying snacks and snackifing drinks, and to resizing the salt on its junk food snacks
CEO Indra Nooyi now admits that Pepsi "has a responsibility to do something about the problem" of obesity, reports the New Yorker, stating that "one day, decades from now, people may look back on our reckless consumption of soft drinks and chips in the same way that we today look back at a three-pack-a-
"Just as legal action was a major force in slashing smoking and weakening the tobacco industry, the fat law suit movement - which has already scored at least ten major victories - is pushing Pepsi as well as big corporations like McDonalds', KFC, Coke, Kellogg, Kraft, and others to make important changes," argues Banzhaf, who helped inspire, and also appeared in, the award-winning movie "Super Size Me."
While claiming to be "part of the solution" rather than a major cause, saying it wants to "play a leading role in public-health issues and particularly the battle against obesity," and tossing around phrases like "packaged nutrition," "functional foods," "good for you" products, and "refreshing ideas which change the world," Pepsi is also using new technology like "social marketing" vending machines to aggressively market sugary sodas to teens. http://www.sfgate.com/
Also, Pepsi has helped to lead the battle across the nation to defeat measures designed to reduce the consumption of sugary soft drinks ("liquid candy"). http://articles.boston.com/
Banzhaf is not the only anti-obesity advocate concerned about Pepsi's effort to untarnish its image by holding itself out as a good guy, which some think is ludicrous.
Marion Nestle, the author of “Food Politics” and a professor of food studies at N.Y.U., said “The best thing Pepsi could do for worldwide obesity would be to go out of business.” Likewise Michele Simon, a public health lawyer and the author of “Appetite for Profit,” think PepsiCo is trying to coöpt people who work on food issues in the public sector by sponsoring research and fellowships and by hiring former public officials as consultants and fulltime employees. http://www.newyorker.com/
As Fortune magazine predicted, fat is becoming the next tobacco, and perhaps those fighting obesity should put as much trust in leading purveyors of junk food as those fighting smoking put in major cigarette makers, says professor Banzhaf.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
Creator, Banzhaf Index of Voting Power
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