Thursday, December 29, 2005

Functional Food?

Although I hardly ever watch morning TV, the Today Show was on in the background as I was sleepily getting ready for work. I caught part of a story about a new food category called "functional food". Even sleepy that didn't make sense to me. Isn't all food 'functional' to some extent; even my beloved french fries? They went on to say that orange juice that was in this category would help relieve constipation. Interesting.....except that if you drink enough orange juice you won't have that problem any longer anyway without some additive that has who-knows-what side effect a few years down the line.

I wondered who coined the phrase "functional food". Was it the media or a marketing department in one of the major food manufacturers? My vote was marketing departments. The New York Times has an article about these new 'fortified' foods here that says the "food industry calls (these new foods) functional foods, which promise a host of health benefits...." Ah- ha...a marketing person's dream - think up a phrase and the media start to use it on national television and major newspapers.

The article goes on to tell about a few companies and what they are adding to foods to create these 'fortified' foods including a form of starch and bacteria strains. I don't know about you, but I think I'll stick with what I know. If you really want benefits from foods the best ones are the natural fruits, veggies and grains. You know, the things you learned in grade school and then we all promptly forgot when we got into our 20s. Ok, so maybe not all of you forgot, but I certainly did. That's when I learned that Smartfood popcorn, while oh-so-yummy, isn't really 'smart' when it comes to my scale.

But I point is that although this new catch phrase is a great success, so far, for the marketing people that thought it up (congrats to them!), it might not necessarily be such a great thing for people looking to eat better. It certainly isn't an overnight 'fix' for anything, something the companies will, also, readily tell you. it will be very interesting to see if the 'functional food' phrase really does catch on for more than a few days.

Just a tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

I agree; the phrase wreaks of marketing wankers...wait, I'm one of those.

Sometimes reality gets stetched a bit too thin and the thing that really is actually real gets left behind.

We really can be fools some times.