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Misleading advertising in the food industry

Misleading advertising in the food industry

It is curious to observe how, derived from our new habits of life, food is changing. Not only from the point of view of new foods, but also of their preparation, origin and way of consumption. Some examples can shed light on this question. In the last 20 years, bread consumption has dropped by more than 30%. Not only consumption but also the type of bread consumed, with a massive increase in pre-cooked bread, and the origin of bread, increasingly purchased by consumers in large areas, to the detriment of traditional bread dispatches. Another example is the consumption of wine. , we have gone from 50 liters per person and year to less than 18 in less than 30 years. In this case, factors such as driving alcohol control have been decisive. However we have varied the type of consumption, each time we consume less bulk and more bottled, we consume more in bars and restaurants and less at home and we buy it in the super or in specialized stores, when before we had a winery in each neighborhood, with those maroon-colored tanks … Want memories! Furthermore, if we analyze the evolution of food consumption in Spain in the last 30 years, we find very revealing data. We eat more meat and dairy products, more soft drinks, sugary drinks, more precooked foods and pastries. On the contrary, foods such as rice, legumes and potatoes are less and less consumed. On the other hand, food has gone from being the main expense of families to being the third. Curiously, we consume fewer calories than 50 years ago and we are fatter and with a higher incidence of diseases related to food such as diabetes. All these changes have to do with how We have said, with the change of habits. Both spouses work in most families. We dedicate a lot of time to work so we highly value the time dedicated to leisure and we dedicate very little time to cooking, buying food, etc. Obviously all this does not facilitate good eating habits, but how does the food industry take advantage of this reality? Observing the shelves of any supermarket we can observe the proliferation of products that help us to invest little time in the kitchen. Frozen, pre-cooked, canned and the increasingly widespread V-range foods, ready to heat and eat, are increasingly weighing in the shopping basket, to the detriment of fresh foods. On the other hand, the medical authorities and the Nutritionists recommend a balanced diet, with a profusion of vegetables and fruits, cereals and containment of fats and salt, come on, the Mediterranean diet of a lifetime. How do both phenomena combine? The population's concern for food is great, be it aesthetic, health or both, we are increasingly concerned about our eating habits. The food industry, aware of this fact, counterattacks with a battery of products that compensate us for the deficiencies in our diet, the so-called functional foods. But is there misleading advertising on these products? Functional foods are those that, incorporating certain elements, They offer us a solution to be able to correct the nutritional deficiencies of our organism and avoid certain diseases, beyond its nutritional or organoleptic value. Products with calcium, omega 3, bifidus, etc. that promise us to improve our bacterial flora, our intestinal tract, lower our cholesterol, improve our health and our diet proliferate on the shelves of supermarkets, all of them backed by supposed scientific studies. But we can highlight some examples of misleading messages in the sale of these products: The famous " "Little bottle" of dairy preparation that "helps your defenses", giving the impression that it frees us from any infection by taking it daily is a clear example but not the only one. The multiple products with Omega 3, that fatty acid that prevents us from cardiovascular diseases, leading us to think that by taking them we will solve our problems when the only Omega 3 that has effects on cholesterol comes from fish, are others.But not only functional foods include misleading advertising, but also conventional ones: A last bloody case is that of the advertisement of a well-known sliced ​​bread that, aided by the image of Eduard Punset, the famous scientific popularizer, sells the product to us as “all natural, nothing artificial”, as if it were a wild fruit. It is convenient, at this point, to remember the recent Law 17/2011, of July 5, on food safety and nutrition, in which the items listed below are prohibited: a) Any reference to curative or preventive properties thereof. b) The use of any kind of authorization, approval or control by health authorities of any country as a backup of the food. c) The contribution of testimonies from health professionals, famous people or known to the public or real or supposed patients, as a means of inducing consumption. d) The use of endorsements from foundations or institutions of a private nature or of people who appear to be sanitary in nature, without meeting such condition e) The promotion of food consumption in order to replace the common diet or nutrition, especially in cases motherhood, lactation, childhood or the elderly. f) The indication that the use or consumption of the promoted or advertised food enhances physical, mental, sporting or sexual performance. g) The reference to its use in health centers or to its distribution through pharmacy offices. h) The use of the term "natural" as a characteristic linked to the perceived preventive or therapeutic effects. i) And, in general, the attribution of specific preventive or therapeutic effects that are not supported by sufficient accredited technical or scientific evidence Given these assumptions, where are these advertisements? Other products are marketed with a series of arguments at least controversial. For example, 0% fat products may have carbohydrates that provide calories so they do make you fat. Products without added sugar do not mean that they did not originally contain sugar, but that more is not added. Foods that provide beneficial fibers for the body, but also a large amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat. Products without animal fats when there are fats of vegetable origin just as pernicious and a long etcetera. Another case of misleading advertising, fortunately overcome, was that of bio and / or eco foods marketed left and right until the use of these terms was restricted to products from certified organic farming or livestock. Regarding these products, it is worth highlighting the fact that, due to people's concern about having a correct diet, there is still a significant increase in organic products. In this growing segment, we see a proliferation of more and more companies and producers that market these products, how long will we have to wait for the first cases of fraud to be detected? Can we ensure that a food is sustainable just because it has the seal of organic farming? It is highly recommended, therefore, to ignore the advertising claims and investigate a little the nutritional data table that all food products must have. In it, we can see the calories provided by the food and its content of fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, etc. Very useful to consult the nutritional values ​​of foods is the database of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition, at the address  www.bedca.net  where we can search for the nutritional composition of hundreds of products. (Especially useful for people with health problems such as diabetics, heart disease, etc.) Of course, anyone is free to consume what they want, but it is not acceptable that they give us erroneous, biased or directly fraudulent information on something as important as food products . At EsDeRaíz we are in favor of a varied diet such as the Mediterranean, supplementing it with physical exercise and strongly recommending fresh, seasonal and local products, which will lead us to follow a Sustainable Food. Ecoportal.netEs de Raíz  http://www.esderaiz.com/ 


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