Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Spread Selling - Is 'Yummy goodness * an oxymoron ?

Some years back I was in a queue for a cheese counter in Pimlico, London behind a lady who asked the artisan proprietor for a “really low fat but very tasty cheese. “

“I regret madam, “ said the specialist purveyor explaining  “ It is the fat that makes cheese tasty”.

Such forthright honesty does his business no harm as can be seen from the queues spilling onto the pavement to his shop entrance on a Saturday morning.

 Because of his direct relationship with his customers he even advises customers not to buy certain cheeses until they are ready.

Food Multinationals cannot quite issue the same type of candid counsel directly. Although their web sites offer more than can be given in a thirty second advert or brand slogan. 

Their advice has to be given guardedly especially in the area of claiming healthiness and health advantages. They are targets for expensive legal battles and media scare stories. 

So what am I or you ,dear reader, to make of the information on a carton?  More importantly are the claims relevant even if they are true ?

“45% less saturated fat than olive oil”

“Helps keep your heart healthy”

“85% less saturated fat than butter”

The fight against heart disease gave a big boost to the margarine industry and the 1960s saw a rush of new products.

Flora was launched in 1964 and advertised on TV in 1965.

 By 1970 Unilever had begun promoting its use direct to the medical profession, and through the 70s and 80s Flora built a following as the brand that was high in polyunsaturates and better for you.

Yet even the BBC’s medical correspondent Fergus Walsh had to do a bit of a double-take  this week when he read some Cambridge-led research about fat consumption and heart disease.

Contrary to guidance, there is no evidence that changing the type of fat you eat from "bad" saturated to "healthier" polyunsaturated cuts heart risk.

Uh Ouh

So does that mean my choosing of Flora spread because it is healthier choice than butter misjudged ?

Flora explain their yummy goodness* as:-

*Sunflower oil naturally contains omega 6. Flora contains omegas 3 (alpha-linolenic acid) and 6 (linolenic acid), which help to maintain normal cholesterol levels. The daily intake needed to maintain a healthy cholesterol level is 2g of omega 3 and 10g of omega 6. Two portions (2 x 10g) of Flora a day contribute a significant amount to this. Enjoy as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle

Yet Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury at the University of Cambridge and his colleagues found in a British Heart foundation funded study, as reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, that higher omega-3 consumption had very little effect on heart disease rates.

In fact, rates for people eating more of the omega-3 fatty acids, or taking omega-3 supplements, were similar to those who consumed lower amounts.

So why does Unilever continue to focus on promoting healthy spreads, the latest of which contain cholesterol-lowering ingredients ?

“The brand has consistently and effectively campaigned on issues such as heart health and cholesterol awareness – for which we make absolutely no excuses,” a spokesman  said.

According to their estimates  city analysts JP Morgan reason in their report on how the food industry is responding to the obesity crisis. , Flora pro.activ fat spread sells at a premium of more than 300% on standard products.

Well I like Flora , olive oil,  butter but try to follow Marie Lloyd’s advice.

The risqué Victorian singer Marie Lloyd who was initially refused entrance to the USA in 1913 for ‘moral turpitude’ was not issuing dietary or nutritional advice in her double entendre hit – “a little of what you fancy”.

I don't suppose anyone present at her performances back in the day imagined that Lloyd was singing about fats whether they be unsaturated, hydrogenated or trans-.

The chorus of "A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good", goes:

I always hold in having it if you fancy it

If you fancy it that’s understood

And suppose it makes you fat?

I don’t worry over that

‘Cos a little of what you fancy does you good.
Perhaps the same applies to tasty cheese that the woman in the Cheese counter queue desired.

Related Links

No comments:

Post a Comment