What do you say to these big food companies to convince them to do this?
C: Forget about altruism, I say this is how you make money. They know the regulatory machine is coming after them…the key is how do you make money? I'm pushing them to promote Coke Zero because they still make the same profit but they yield less calories. If they don't make money, I don t believe they'd do it.
We, as consumers, talk a good health game, except taste always trumps health. That's why I believe that to try to get someone to go from a Big Mac to broccoli on a Monday is not going to happen. We have to do it slowly, but it can be done over time.
Hot new diets--for example, they have a 30 day program with food--by 3 o'clock you glaze over with all this stuff. It's unrealistic to expect people to stick to these. Atkins doesn't work, because people don't stick to it forever.
Why is a food tax on say potato chips or Coke not a good idea in your mind?
C: It hurts the person who could afford it the least. It's regressive, if I can afford it then I'd buy it still. Potato chips and hamburgers are so ubiquitous. Soft drinks tend to skew young and diet drinks skew females, but they are so universal, everyone participates.
It's a misnomer that just poor people can afford and buy potato chips. I don't like it because it's regressive, it's a win-lose as opposed to a win-win. It hurts the corporations—I haven't seen corporations change their ways just because of taxing—and the consumer loses because they don't get the choice. I just have real issues with it.
I just wrote on a blog called "Taxation Without Carbonation." I think taxing it raises money for New York state and those who could afford it would continue going. I don't like the analogy of tobacco because everyone has to eat. Not like smoking, smoking is a choice. Government doesn't understand the business of what it takes…it's anti-corp.
I do like the trans fat law though. I think trans fats need to go bye-bye, but not eating trans fats doesn't help with the calories. New York has been the leader in this banning of trans fat movement.
What is the future of food?
C: It is going healthier, it has no choice. I also think that there are developments in making food products that have taste and health co-exist. It has to go there. Science is catching up to make food taste better.
What motivates me is that you hear people saying that our children aren't going to live as long as we do, because of child obesity….that's horrible.
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