The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Convenience Of [Zero] Health …
January 23, 2007, 10:15 am
Filed under: Comment

Obesity questions 1 

Ahhhhhh, health – one of those issues like the environment that people talk passionately about and yet in the main, do very little about. Once upon a time, being healthy meant going out and enjoying an activity.  It didn’t matter if it was footie, swimming, squash or netball … it was something we had fun doing that also had the benefit of keeping us in ‘tip-top’ condition.

However in the modern age, whilst those activities are still going on, ‘getting healthy’ has taken on a different direction –  now it’s about going to a gym, doing specific workouts, competing with your personal-best times rather than an opposing team. [Yes, many gyms do run ‘group courses’ however in the main, the activities are based on personal endurance rather than what you can achieve as a member of a team] Is there anything wrong with that? 

Of course not, however it is having the effect of stigmatising health into an area that is more exclusive rather than inclusive – something that can put people off despite them appreciating how it would benefit their health overall.

fat boys

What this has all led to is the rise of ‘Convenient Health’ – where every food/beverage company has tailored their products to offer a more ‘healthy option. We now see McDonalds sell salads and Coca-Cola sell water … we see Kentucky Fried Chicken rebrand themselves to KFC and watch as high-sugared MILO becomes an energy food … it’s health, health, health and yet, in many cases, what is deemed as being healthy should be regarded as simply being ‘healthier’. 

What’s the distinction?

Well it’s that a McDonald Grilled Chicken Burger may be better for you than a Big Mac but compared to many other food groups, it still is very, very UNhealthy for you. Lets be honest, we all know this and yet these options continue to appeal – why?

1 Macca’s [and the like] are convenience companies.  They purposely locate themselves in high traffic and/or poor neighbourhoods to attract the time poor/financially poor. 

2 We all like to think we’re soooooo busy and important which allows us to justify getting ‘a quick bite’.

We are subliminally trained from a young age to believe ‘healthy = tasteless’

We know we should be doing something for our health so by choosing a grilled-but-smothered-in-mayo-burger-and-fries, we ‘kid ourselves’ we’re doing something right for our bodies.

5 We live in a ‘denial free’ society – where if we want something, we should have it and worry about any consequences later on. ie: Credit Card Debt and Obesity

Hey, I’m not preaching, I’m just as bad.  If I end up in a Macca’s or the like, I end up ordering something like a super-fat burger and fries with a diet soda.

[This ‘truth’ was utilised by Diet Tango with their advertising campaign “You Need It Because You’re Weak”]

Now some of you might be under the mistaken impression that Asia is healthy. It isn’t.

Sure it is HEALTHIER than much of the West, but the food – while very, very cheap and tasty [bar things like ‘Pig Organ Soup’] actually tends to consist of alot of oil, salt, sugar and fats. 

However there is one company in Singapore that is trying to positively influence people’s diets. 

They are trying to rid our ‘unhealthy justification’ by creating foods that are tasty, convenient, truly healthy and handmade from scratch. 

I particularly like the ‘handmade from scratch’ wording because not only does it tap into the inherent human belief that this means ‘better for you’ it also justifies the price premium inherent in most health products. [Though in many cases, this price increase is unjustifiable like ‘water’ costing more than the equivalent volume of alcohol]

To be fair, they are very serious about this issue because they’ve even banned TRANSFATS which only last weekend were highlighted as having the potential to affect fertility so I wish them all the best with this direction – and whilst there are other companies out there with a similar stance – I still can’t believe brands like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers haven’t set up a chain offering this sort of thing because the World is crying out for it.

American Obesity Explained

OK, so it’s outrageously expensive to set up and yes, I know they’ve done deals with certain Fast Food Chains to offer food that fits their ‘diet policies’… but come on, they have more cred than Macca’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Burger King ever will.

Years ago we got a brief from a health care company to position themselves as the nations ‘health care company’.  Whilst we were doing all our explorations, we found this great quote …

“Health is simply the slowest rate which you can die”

… and whilst we turned it into a lovely campaign [You Have More Birthdays With Boots] it would seem that despite living in the most Health-aware times in history, the battle of ‘cheap and convenient’ is winning the battle of real health.

[I know, this is a particularly hypocritical post given the ‘sausage vote’ … sue me!]

16 Comments so far
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This from the man who thinks kebab cob specials (is that the right name?) are gifts from culinary God and hired athletes to pitch for Adidas because he is to healthy what Trump is to compassionate.

Comment by Pete

Nice Weightwatchers idea though.

Comment by Pete

I cannot live without cigarettes. I will not go jogging. I like good food. I may die young. Cool with me.

Comment by MarcusBrown

all hail the modern day james dean.
rebel without his health.
i am your biggest fan for that attitude.

Comment by andy@cynic

Tesco’s finest and organics ranges are growing exponentially, Sainsbury’s is roaring back. I’m hoping this is because more people equate good food to nice food made properly, though it’s not the same as making your own.
I’ve got to agree about denial free society – women’s magazines are full of fad diets that con you into thinking you can get away with not eating less, and excercises that avoid going for a run.
Burn more than you chew, it’s that simple.

Comment by Northern Planner

I’m of Italian background… eating healthy is almost impossible. You ever tried to tell a cranky Italian mother you are trying to cut out carbs?
I’m doomed I tells ya, DOOMED!

Comment by Age

i understand what you are saying but the assumption that healthy goods get consumed is not always true.
we commissioned some research in this area which showed there was a high degree of healthy food purchase that never got eaten because while people bought it with good intentions, the realities of life meant it got left in the bottom of the fridge. bit like a typical new years resolutions but on a daily and weekly scale.
sausages on the other hand….

Comment by andy@cynic

oh, ask rob about his mate ian who invented the uncontrollable trolley for tesco, its brilliant and based on the “wanting to pretend im being healthy” insight.

Comment by andy@cynic

robs half iti and the word carb translates to love

Comment by andy@cynic

Low fat bacon tastes better than low fat sausage.

Comment by Northern Planner

who the fuck said anything about low fat? low fat cardboard tastes better than low fat bacon. what does that prove? some things shouldnt be low fat.

Comment by andy@cynic

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.

N.P. … Age … sorry for my beloved Andy, he’s a nice man if a bit overly excited about sausages. Well, food in general really.

Mind you, I am impressed with his comment about purchase and consumption of healthy food are not always in equal measure. We did get some research on this and the findings were really interesting.

As for me talking about Ian and his Tesco trolley – if you want to know, let me know … it is genius but then he is one of the truly cleverest men in the World.

Comment by Rob

Like this stuff on consumption V purchase. A bit like the bike in my shed.

Proper butchers sausages tend to be pretty low fat next to supermarket ones, they taste pretty good to me.

Comment by Northern Planner

EXACTLY like the bike in your shed and the tons of ‘good intention stuff’ I’ve bought over the years that have lost out to cars, playstations and indian takeaways.

It was a good research paper – not the most comprehensive on Earth [about 1000 people in 6 countries] but good all the same – and the worst people practicing this behaviour was the UK.

Comment by Rob

I think Andy meant that the word carb translates to “love-handles”

Comment by Age

[…] Serious About [Healthy] Food. Sunday February 25th 2007, 3:55 am Filed under: Comment A while back I wrote about a Singaporean company who were passionately promoting the fact they believe in making/selling truly healthy, tasty and nutritious food. […]

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