There she goes again. Just when we thought New York University’s Marion Nestle had hit rock bottom by criticizing General Mills’ decision to make all its cereals from whole grains, she sank even lower — again. Becomming a caricature of herself, Nestle informed the New York Times Magazine that the efforts of Mars, the candy maker, to develop a healthier chocolate are nothing more than a marketing ploy. Considering how often she has criticized industry efforts to create healthier foods, Nestle is beginning to sound more like the media’s anti-industry pull-string doll than a nutrition expert.
So what’s got Nestle’s knickers in a knot this time? According to the Times, Mars has invested millions of dollars and more than a decade of research into developing a healthier chocolate. The company’s food scientists have developed a new process that preserves chocolate’s natural flavanols, which contain many of the same heart-healthy antioxidants found in red wine.
Critics alleged that Mars was on a multi-million dollar wild goose chase. But according to Dr. Norman Hollenberg, a Harvard professor and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Mars’ discovery could be a “a grand-slam home run” in terms of improving cardiovascular health. Hollenberg notes that the chocolate even has the potential to aid dementia caused by poor blood flow to the brain.
Despite all that good news, and despite the millions spent on research and development, Nestle could only muster her usual mantra to the Times: “This is marketing, pure and simple.“
Here are a few other examples of Marion’s anti-corporate mantra:
When General Mills announced that it will make all its cereals from whole grains: “Certainly, it’s a marketing ploy. Without any question, this is about marketing. It’s not really about nutrition.“
Regarding the potential of fortifying foods with vitamins and minerals: “Their main purpose is marketing.“
When Pepsi announced it was launching an effort to improve the nutritional value of its products: “What PepsiCo is doing is shocking. It is aggressively marketing junk food as health food.“
When food makers joined together to create the American Council for Fitness & Nutrition: “They want to use nutrition to sell…It’s good old-fashioned capitalism at its best and I hate to see it couched in terms of nutrition.”
We’re beginning to wonder: if Nestle doesn’t want the industry to make its products healthier, then what exactly does she want? It seems that food makers can do nothing to satisfy her anti-capitalist agenda.