Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dieters as Profitable Yo-yos: Corporate Lures, Bamboozles

Americans have been bamboozled by leading diet corporations. Hookwinked. Tricked. Lured into bleeding endless streams of cash into the coffers of companies who profess to help us become healthier.  

Turns out top diet conglomerates don't want you to become lean. At least, not for very long... After all, once you're slim, you no longer need their pricey services. They lose a paying customer. 

So what's a clever, profit-hungry corporation based, in part, on the diet industry to do to bring once-chubby customers back?   Believe it or not, if you answered "Make 'em chubby again," you're correct.   

If you responded "Trigger yo-yo dieting instincts by igniting cravings for salt, sugar, and fat," you win the prize. 

Seriously... the corporate owners of several huge diet companies quietly also control major makers of ice creams, candy bars, junky breakfast cereals, mayonnaise, margarine, sausages, frozen pizzas, and all manner of fake, industrial-made foods.    

Once you graduate from chubby to lean or grow from lean to chubby, industrial fake-food corporations don't want to lose your business.  So they cynically diversify their portfolios to include both diet companies and junk food companies, and constantly lure Americans into unhealthy yo-yo- dieting, hence a continuous flow of hefty corporate profits.

Take Jenny Craig Inc, owned since 2006 by Nestle, which reported worldwide sales of $92 billion and profits of $10.6 billion in 2012.  Besides "weight management" company Jenny Craig, Nestle owns or controls hordes of less-than-healthy foods including:

  • Dreyer's, Haagen-Daz (in U.S.), Drumsticks, and six other ice cream makers
  • Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch, KitKat, 100 Grand, and many more candy bars
  • Hot Pockets, DiGiorno frozen pizzas, Stouffer frozen entrees, Lean Cusine
  • Trix, Cheerios, Golden Nuggets (in U.K.), Nesquik powdered chocolate drink

Consider SlimFast, maker of "meal option" shakes, snacks, and packaged foods meant to help people better manage their weight.  SlimFast was quietly acquired by Unilever in 2000.  Other food companies owned or controlled by Unilever include:
  • Ben & Jerry's, Breyer's, Klondike, Popsicles, Fudgsicles, and Heartland lines that dominate European ice cream sales
  • Hellman's and Best Foods mayonnaise and other products
  • Country Crock, Brummel & Brown, Imperial, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, and many other margarines
  • Many European makers of mayonnaise, mustard, catsup, other condiments.

Weight Watchers was sold in 1999 to wealthy private investors, and went public in 2001. Half of Weight Watchers shares are controlled by a stealthy private equity firm, The Invus Group. Five of nine Weight Watchers Board of Director members are also key leaders of The Invus Group.  

While little is publicly known about Invus' client list, its website also describes a successful investment in and turn-around of Keebler, which was later sold to Kellogg.  Keebler is the largest cookie and cracker manufacturer in the United States. Among Keebler highly processed products are Cheez-Its and Wheatables crackers and eight varieties of Chips Deluxe cookies. 

Yes, Americans (and Europeans, too) have been bamboozled by some leading "weight management" corporations into believing that they have our health at heart. 

Lured  by advertising and enticed by store shelves, newly-lean food aficionados again buy and feast on foods rich in sugar, salt, and fat.  First a little, then a lot.  Candy bars, ice cream, cookies, cheesy crackers, junky cereals, mayonnaise, margarine, sausages, highly processed frozen fare... 

(Read "Salt Sugar Fat" - Stunning Big Food Tactics to Hook, Trick, Harm Americans.")

And so the yo-yo dieting cycle continues. Lean, chubby, lean, chubby.  And the same industrial food mega-corporations profit handsomely from both unhealthy sides of the cycle.  

Only the consumer gets hurt... financially and personally.  Hurt by their own human weaknesses and natural reactions.  Lured like a hungry mouse to a cheese-laden trap.   Seduced into an endless culinary cycle of temptation and guilt, binge and purge, sin and redemption. 

It's a brilliant bamboozle, worthy of the sharpest flim-flam artists in American retail history.  A type of bait-and-switch trick that's engineered to be nearly irresistible to a public enamored of its junk food habits. 

And as long as consumers continue to take the fake-food diet-industry bait, this destructive, greedy cycle will continue to flourish. 

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