If you could travel back in time to the 1970s, no doubt you would be shocked at the limited variety of foods offered at your local grocery store. Lettuce was iceberg period; spinach was usually found in a can and bread was white, as were pasta and rice. In his book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, author Michael Moss reflects upon the motivations and practices by the food industry which have transformed the American food supply.
There are many perspectives one can take regarding the technological changes which have led to our modern food supply. Michael Moss chooses the perspective that corporate innovation which leads to more appealing food, is on a path to compromising public health. Moss uses interviews with former corporate employees to paint a picture of “deliberate and calculating” corporate intentions. Moss, a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, selects presentations from scientists that support his cause and visits production plants around the globe that provide the ingredients (salt, sugar and fat) which Mr. Moss alleges are directly associated with today’s epidemic of health crises, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Part One: Sugar
This chapter introduces readers to an industry pioneer, who for more than three decades, worked to turn losing products into winners. His market research suggested that people are driven to eat by factors other than hunger including taste, aroma, appearance, texture and emotional need. This revelatory insight led to the development of a popular carbonated beverage, for example. The history of sweetened breakfast cereal is also offered as an example of consumer manipulation. These product developments, however, could be viewed within the context of the consumer’s changing lifestyle where convenience and quick satisfaction are high priorities and are sought out with consumers’ limited dollars.
Part Two: Fat
Moss details food industry research that showed adding fat to products made them more...