Food Giants Adjust to Foodie Culture

With so many big name food companies in the media trying to appeal to more health-conscious consumers, it’s been a busy few weeks for nutrition news. Kraft, Chipotle, Tyson and McDonald’s are all making headlines as they try to adjust to a culture of raised health awareness.

Here’s the news and here’s our view:

Chipotle: Chipotle this week announced plans to be the first fast food chain to stop serving GMO foods, with the exception of soft drinks. The company since 2013 was already labeling any GMO foods (genetically modified organisms), but now the company is banning them altogether.

Our view: This comes as no surprise, as it is aligned with the overall image of Chipotle. What we think is positive about the move is that it brings the GMO food labeling debate outside of the realm of “foodies” and to the masses. Scientific research all show that GMO foods are safe for consumption, however, there remains a lot of debate over consumers’ right to know when food is GMO. This will bring the labeling debate to the forefront.

Kraft: Kraft Foods grabbed its media space over the last few weeks, first with its stamp of approval from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), which was later rescinded. More recently, Kraft announced it will no longer use food coloring in Mac n’ Cheese and instead will use turmeric.

Our view: The AND endorsement of Kraft Singles cheese slices was a bit of a debacle that we wrote about in an earlier post. But the turmeric for coloring? That’s just fabulous. It’s not that Kraft Mac n’ Cheese is now healthy (sorry!), but it signifies a greater societal-wide health trend. Americans are more concerned about eating healthy now than they have been in decades, and food companies are listening. Let’s hope this leads to more positive changes among American’s favorite foods.

McDonald’s and Tyson: In March, McDonald’s announced that it would work with suppliers to stop using antibiotics important to humans in its chicken. Tyson Foods, a top supplier to McDonald’s, followed suit this week by announcing plans to stop feeding chickens antibiotics used in human medicine by September 2017.

Our view: This is a direct response to news that antibiotics used for decades in animals to make them grow large quickly is causing bacteria to evolve to resist the antibiotics. Awareness is spreading that the practice that’s been harsh on animals for years is becoming detrimental to humans as well. Again, this move by both giant companies will raise awareness among the masses of an issue that used to only be known among animal rights activists.

As always, we can’t emphasize enough that the best food for you is the food that rarely makes the news: simple, whole foods that you prepare at home and enjoy together with friends and family.