Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nestle To Cash In On Obesity

It doesn't come as a big surprise that Chairman and former CEO of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, thinks that organic food has reached it's peak. “It will stay the same," he says. "I don't think it will grow much more.”

Reality, on the other hand, tells us that this man doesn't know what he is talking about. Organic Monitor estimates that global sales of organic foods reached $54.9 billion in 2009 with the largest markets being the U.S., Germany and France. The Organic Trade Association reports U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010 with a growth in sales of 7.7% in 2010 over 2009. Organic food and beverage sales represented approximately 4 percent of overall food and beverage sales in 2010.

Brabeck-Letmathe continues his diatribe with statements such as "organic food cannot feed the world", "produces 30% less yield than normal agriculture" and "from a nutritional point of view, studies show no nutritional difference from bio to other foods. But it's more dangerous." Nutrition professors and some food scientists dispute many of those claims, suggesting that organic foods do show nutritional difference and are not more dangerous than processed foods. They consider those ideas to be myths that the big food industry promotes and suggest that large companies like Nestlé, Kraft Foods Inc. and Dole Food Company, Inc., don't embrace ideas in nutrition and fresh foods because it runs counter to their business model and profit base.

Brabeck-Letmathe added that he realizes that films like Food Inc., Michael Pollan books and farmer's markets are real trends that are shifting the American approach to produce and food production, adding that Nestle is investing more money in life sciences and the intersection of medicine and nutrition because its executives believe that how we eat plays a large role in chronic diseases. REALLY??????

Nestle and Brabeck-Latmathe have another reason for not wanting to see organic food production rise. Whole, organic and unprocessed foods represent not only a direct threat to Nestlé's sales, it also threatens its new business line. You see, Nestle is is in the process of developing a line of neutraceuticals, or foods, designed to treat or prevent disease. And it's not unreasonable to assume that some of those foods will be designed to directly address diabetes, another chronic disease linked with obesity or obesity itself.

Don't you find it just a tad bit ironic that a company built on candy, sweetened beverages and highly processed convenience foods hopes to move into the business of treating obesity. Nestle is going to sell you highly processed, convenience "foods" until you are diabetic, obese or worse, at which point you will then begin purchasing their neutraceutical products to treat the obesity that originated with their junk food. A perfect business model - create the problem and then treat it.

And the medical journal, The Lancet, tell us that the pool for such products is growing at such a rapid rate that it's an epidemic that is just getting started. New estimates suggest that half the U.S. population will be obese by 2030.

List of Nestle Brands in the U.S. (not all-inclusive): Nestle, Cheerios, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Crunch, Nesquik, Shredded Wheat, Clusters, Gold Flakes, International Roast, Nescafe, Taster's Choice, Arrowhead, Aquapod, Deer Park, Deep Spring, Nestle Aquarel, Perrier, Poland Spring, Pure Life, San Pellegrino, Zephryhills, Nestea, Carnation, Nesquik, Libby's, Good Host, Juicy Juice, Carnation, Coffee-Mate, Dreyer's, Edy's, Haagen-Daz, Push-Up, Skinny Cow, Gerber, Good Start, NanSoy, PowerBar, Pria, Boost, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Nutren, Peptamen, Glytrol, Crucial, Impact, Isosource, Fibersource, Diabetisource, Compleat, Optifast, Resource, Buitoni, Maggi, CHEF, Haoji, Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, Papa Guiseppi, Tombstone Pizza, Jack's Pizza, Digiorno, California Pizza Kitchen Frozen, Herta, Toll House, 100 Grand Bar, Aero, After Eight, Baby Ruth, Breakaway, Butterfinger, Chips Ahoy!, Chunky, Goobers, Heaven, Icebreakers, Kit Kat, Milky Bar, Matchmakers, Lion, Munchies, Nestle Crunch, Nips, Oh Henry, Peppermint Crisp, Raisinets, Rolo, Snowcaps, Smarties, Toffee Crisp, Turtles, Yorkie, XXX Mints, Bottle Caps, Donutz, Fizzy Jerks, FruiTart Chews, Fun Dip, Gobstoppers, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Oompas, Pixy Stix, Rainbow Nerds, Runts, SweeTarts, Tart 'n Tinys, Wonka Bars, Chef-Mate, Santa-Rica, Davigel, Minor's. Nestle owns 30% of L'Oreal - Garnier, Maybelline, Lancome and The Body Shop stores.

Fast Company

This post was shared at Real Food Wednesday.


  1. It is funny that anyone would suggest that organic can't feed the world when the copious amounts of artifical food stuffs produced by clearly isn't feeding anyone either. Kit Katz aren't ending world hunger. Thanks for the list, it is a good reminder to always check the labels. I stopped over from Real Food Weds.

  2. It's always difficult to believe the assertions of someone with a profit motivation. If Nestlé was able to make a larger profit from selling organic foods, they would be jumping on the bandwagon. And what would happen if all the land devoted to raising commodity crops was converted to raising real foods, whether produce, grains, beans, or animal foods? But he can't ask that question, as it's too far from his economic self-interest.

    (Also from Real Food Wednesday)