House, Inc. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Moss, Michael. Salt, sugar, fat: how the food giants hooked us / Michael Moss. Editorial Reviews. medical-site.info Review. Q&A with Michael Moss. Michael Moss. Q. How did you land on salt, sugar, and fat as your way to write about the. Read Salt Sugar Fat PDF - How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss Random House Trade Paperbacks | NAMED ONE OF THE BEST.
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Praise. “As a feat of reporting and a public service, Salt Sugar Fat is a remarkable accomplishment.”—The New York Times Book Review “[Michael] Moss has. Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. By Michael Moss. Michael Moss , Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter at the Ne w Y. READ|Download [PDF] Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us Download by - Professor of History Michael Moss EPUB ebook free.
DAVIES: Right, and of course it took someone of his stature to get the executives of all these major food companies together in a room for this candid conversation. They heard the pitch. What did they say? MOSS: You know, the first reaction came from, according to the three participants that I spoke to at the meeting, came from the CEO of General Mills, who got up and made some very forceful points from his perspective, and his points included this: You know, we at General Mills have been, you know, responsible not only to consumers but to shareholders.
We offer products that are low-fat and low-sugar, have whole grains in them, to people who are concerned about eating those products - bottom line being, though, that we need to ensure that our products taste good because our accountability is also to our shareholders, and there's no way we could start down-formulating the usage of salt, sugar, fat across the board if the end result is going to be something that people will not want to eat. Was - did the group reassemble? MOSS: Well, yes and no.
I mean so that basically - his very strong sort of forceful response to Michael Mudd's presentation ended the meeting. You know, that money never materialized, or was just a few million dollars instead. And what happened going forward was that some of the companies, especially Kraft, decided to sort of go at this issue unilaterally, on their own, and that to me is sort of one of the more fascinating stories in the book, about how Kraft on its own decided to push ahead, do the right thing by consumer health without pulling the rest of the industry along with it, which was an extraordinary move by the company.
MOSS: They kept doing what they were doing, in some cases adding even more salt, sugar, fat into their foods. You know, again, they would continue creating low-fat, low-sugar versions of their mainline products, but the goal remained what it had been for decades prior, which again was to make the most convenient, the most long-lasting, the least-cost foods that they could, because, you know, those are the products, and many of them are the foods we all hate to love that, you know, with those formulas and that marketing creates a situation where we download more, we eat more, and the companies make more profits.
And these are companies that are profit-driven. They are addicted to profits as much as we are addicted to salt, sugar and fat. And you have to - I think when you understand that, you can see where the food industry is coming from and what the prospects might be for changing things to the better of public health. DAVIES: Now, a lot of your book deals with research among food companies about health and even more about how they - how they can make stuff that we just can't resist.
And I guess it's in the section on sugar that you refer to something called the bliss point. Explain that. MOSS: This was a mathematical term that was applied to food back in the s by a food scientist who at the time was actually working for the U. Army in helping to try to develop food rations for soldiers in the field.
His goal was to get soldiers to eat more in the field, because they have the contrary problem in warfare, which is, you know, under battle the last thing you want to do sometimes is to eat food. So the Army was in the position of trying to make its food more attractive and palatable to soldiers and still have it be able to sit on the shelf for three years.
So this scientist, Howard Moskowitz, was working very hard at figuring out the precise amounts of salt, sugar, fat and especially sugar in foods that would cause people to go over the moon and for products - eventually when he started working for food companies - to fly off the shelves. And this became, this magical point where sugar was at an optimum level for creating allure came to be known as the bliss point.
DAVIES: Right, so there's a point at which if you keep adding sugar beyond that, it doesn't work as well, it's the point that you love it, and you want more.
MOSS: Yeah, you think about in your own life, you're making Kool-Aid, and you're adding sugar to it, and there's a point where you go yuck, I mean I can't eat anymore, it's like too sweet.
That applies to sugar. We can talk about fat, where by contrast there's almost no bliss point for fat; if there is, it would be up the realm of, you know, beyond heavy cream, which in some ways makes fat an even more powerful ingredient for the food companies.
DAVIES: Now, when the American Heart Association recommended less sugar in processed foods, one of the responses of manufacturers, you write, was that it's not just that we need food sweet, but it's really integral to the way we make processed food. How do - how do the manufacturers use it in processed food and even alter the characteristics of sugar so that it works better? MOSS: It has almost, you know, endless sort of uses for the food industry, but it's used not only for flavor and the way that it, you know, generates pleasurable responses from food-eaters, but it's also used to make food better, bigger, look better in appearance.
You know, doughnuts have a larger shape, and cookies, when sugar is used in optimum amounts. The coloring of foods is much better with certain types of sugar added. And all around it's just, you know, beyond taste, of multiple functions for the food industry. MOSS: Yes, absolutely, which is a critical part of food, of course, as any home cook or chef will tell you too.
The processed food industry is as concerned about the appearance and the texture and the sound of its food as it is to the magic formulations of salt, sugar, fat. MOSS: Well, we'll get to potato chips, but there have been studies showing that the more noise a potato chip makes, the more you're going to be attracted to it and eat. And there are some really jaw-dropping marketing pitches in the book. Do you have a favorite?
They decided, and this was in the mids, they decided that apple had become problematic to them and that kids maybe weren't drawn to the taste of apple in Apple Jacks as they were, you know, a couple decades ago when it was invented. They created this campaign, this ad campaign, wherein there were two characters, and one was a cinnamon stick, and another was a fresh apple. And in the campaign, as it was unveiled and started out, the apple was made into a bad guy. There were races between the two, and the cinnamon stick was always the one to win, and the apple was stumbling and unattractive and just not something you would want to associate with, and he lost.
And it drove nutrition advocates crazy because here they were trying to encourage kids to eat more fresh fruit. Kellogg was giving apple, however purposefully, a bad name in their eyes. And eventually Kellogg ended up changing the ad so that apple at least was on equal footing with the cinnamon, which was basically just a euphemism for the added sugar in the cereal.
MOSS: You know, I think that story too illustrates one of the huge issues in the grocery store, which is the competition among companies is so fierce, and Kellogg was losing a bit of market share to other cereals when they decided they had to put a fresh campaign on the Frosted Minis. And what they came up with was some science that they had generated that they said showed that kids who ate Frosted Mini-Wheats for breakfast would be as much as or almost 20 percent more alert in the classroom, which the company translated into things like better grades for kids.
And 20 percent, you know, you could almost see parents trying to do the math. Well, you know, Johnny got a C-plus on that test, and if we bumped it up by 20 percent, hey, he's in an A-minus category.
That campaign went on for a while, until actually the FTC jumped in and said, hey, wait a minute, you know, we're looking at your study, and it doesn't really show anything near that kind of gain. And not only that, but they weren't even looking at other breakfasts to compare to the Frosted Mini-Wheats. And so Kellogg eventually agreed to sort of change the wording on that campaign as well. But again, it sort of just illustrates the amazing pressure that the food giants are under to maintain sales and profits.
And again, they're companies, and that's what they do.
That single can of Coke, you know, has, what, eight teaspoons of sugar. And you met a guy named Jeffrey Dunn, who had spent a lot of his career at Coca-Cola, which was always in this tooth-and-nail battle with Pepsi. Do you want to describe some of the ways that he and his friends at Coke tried to get Americans to drink more of it, as opposed to Pepsi, or just drink more Coke?
I mean his dad had worked at Coke, and he managed to get a job at Coke himself and rose through the ranks.
And he was, he was a master at marketing Coke. And one of the ways that they went after and helped sort of foster the consumption of Coke was they were the first, Coke was, to sort of come up with this notion of limitless soda-drinking in restaurants. They came up with sort of the endless fountain.
So you bought a cup, and you're allowed to go back to the fountain to drink as much soda as you possibly could. This was sort of the beginning of the super-size phenomena that we still see going on today. MOSS: You know, within Coke they refer to their best customers not as, as you might think, consumers or loyal fans or something like that.
They became known as heavy users. And Coke had a formula, and this is sort of a standard formula in the industry developed by an Italian scientist years ago, that basically said 20 percent of the people will use 80 percent of the product. This involves convenience stores. MOSS: It does. In so many American cities, especially, and out in the suburbs too, there's the thing called the C-store or convenience store, as it's called by the industry.
This is where you can go and get fast food and some of the most convenient foods there are out there. You know, tragically, nutritionists will tell you, many of these convenience stories, you know, encircle schools and are built to ensnare children as they come in and out of the school. And these are the places that were critical to the snack-food industry, not just soda but chips as well, because of the clientele.
And the clientele were kids, teenagers, who were going out on their own for the first time with a little bit of change, you know, into an environment where they could make the decision about what to download. And this was critical to Coke, and it is to other companies, because those decisions early on, especially in the teen years, will develop brand loyalty.
So a child who chooses Pepsi at age 13 or 14 is likely to maintain that brand loyalty through the rest of their life. So the industry developed this phenom, marketing phenom called up-and-down-the-street marketing, which just really refers to their delivery trucks driving up and down the street and hitting all the convenience stores, bringing the food into the stores, stocking the shelves, making sure it's positioned right, maybe edging out a competitor here and there and just making sure that their products are the most accessible in the convenience store, and they're grabbing those kids as they're - before they develop a brand loyalty for a competitor.
MOSS: Consumption of soda soared over the years, and I don't think you can point to any one phenom that did that. But I think that all of these things did.
The focus on teens, the focus on heavy users, on positioning soda better in supermarkets, for example, all of those - and the super-size phenomena - all of that contributed to our soaring consumption of soda at a very critical moment, which is that starting in the '80s, you know, society's dependence on convenience foods increased, you know, significantly.
So it sort of went hand in hand. People were turning more to convenient, fast food, easily accessible, calorically dense foods at a time when the industry was pushing those harder and harder, and they went hand in hand. You know, Jeffrey Dunn is convinced that soda correlates entirely with the growth of the - the surge of the obesity epidemic going back to Other people, and certainly Coke, will say, hey, wait a minute, we're only one contribution to all the calories people are taking in, don't blame us for everything.
I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who is off this week. We're speaking with investigative journalist Michael Moss, whose new book looks at how scientists at American food companies use sugar, fat and salt to create irresistible and often unhealthy processed foods.
Moss spoke with many food industry scientists and executive - some of whom have regrets about their work. And of course it's interesting that this happened at a time when Americans were becoming more conscious of health issues, that these two big food companies are acquired by a company that was at the center of kind of the biggest health product controversy of the century, you know, with tobacco.
How did the cigarette maker affect the way food companies made and marketed their products? In the early years, Philip Morris was doing everything you might expect of them, which was they were holding regular meetings, they called it the corporate products meetings, where they would have their food division officials come in and tell them what new great things they were doing to increase consumption of their products.
Philip Morris is about profits; it saw the food divisions as about profits. Over time, though, Phillip Morris had a much different view - developed a much different view - of their food division, because as Philip Morris came under pressure for nicotine and cigarettes, it eventually started looking at the food divisions in light of the emerging obesity crisis.
And there were moments in these internal documents where Philip Morris officials were saying to the food division, you guys are going to face a problem in terms of obesity of the same magnitude, if not more, than we're facing with nicotine right now, and you've got to start thinking about this issue and how you're going to deal with that. I mean you want to make stuff that tastes great and that people want to download. MOSS: Well MOSS: Well, you're right.
And how it unfolded at Kraft is a totally fascinating thing. Philip Morris was nudging Kraft to start reconsidering its dependence on salt, sugar, fat at the very moment a cabal of insiders at Kraft, including Michael Mudd, the official who led and organized the CEO meeting - they were pushing Kraft to meet the obesity issue head on.
And the Philip Morris sort of nudging, you know, encouraged them to push ahead and ultimately this cabal at Kraft convinced the top officials of Kraft that they needed to do something.
And I think their argument went along a number of lines, but one of them was, look, we're at risk of losing everything here if we don't give up a little bit. So they set out to create this, you know, this anti-obesity initiative. They brought in 10 experts from all different fields to advise it on obesity and look at the ways that the company might be contributing to obesity.
They created new stricter rules that limited their ability to market the most problematic foods to children. They looked at the packaging and decided that they were doing some things on packaging that were quite deceptive to consumers. For example, like other companies, on the back of the box or bag in the nutrient facts section, they would list, you know, the total numbers of fats and sugars and salts in terms of a serving size, knowing that people in many cases are more apt to eat far more than one serving, and this cabal at Kraft with their anti-obesity, you know, message said, look, let's do the math for people.
Let's don't provide just the per-serving size, but let's tell them how many calories and how much sugar and how much salt in the bag total, because so many people are going to eat the whole bag. And then finally, and this was sort of the most extraordinary thing, is that they put limits on the amounts of salt, sugar, fat that their scientists, their food technicians could add to food.
And this was an extraordinary moment, as they described to me, because up until that point every ounce of effort at Kraft, as it is it is at other companies, was focused on making the foods, their foods, as attractive, as alluring, as addictive, if you will - that's not a word that they choose to use - as possible.
DAVIES: Before we talk about where that effort at Kraft went, let's talk just a little bit about how they and other manufacturers were using fat and other products. Because you write a lot about all of the research that they did to make food so alluring. And fat in particular, you said it doesn't have a bliss point like sugar, right? You can - there's almost no limit to how much fat you'll want in a food. That's one of the issues with fat.
The other issue is that it's often invisible. The industry itself would cease to exist without salt, sugar, and fat. Includes a bonus PDF with endnotes from the book.
Michael Moss was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in , and was a finalist for the prize in and Before coming… More about Michael Moss. The result is a mouth-watering, gut-wrenching look at the food we hate to love.
You get this terrific, powerfully written book, jammed with startling disclosures, jaw-dropping confessions and, importantly, the charting of a path to a better, healthier future.
This book should be read by anyone who tears a shiny wrapper and opens wide. He understands a vital and terrifying truth: This is a truly important book, and anyone reading it will understand why food corporations cannot be trusted to value health over profits and why we all need to recognize and resist food marketing every time we grocery shop or vote.
How did you land on salt, sugar, and fat as your way to write about the industry? Why these three ingredients. And sure enough, when I looked at this — by gaining access to high level industry officials and a trove of sensitive, internal records — a window opened on how aggressive the industry was wielding not only salt, but sugar and fat, too. These are the pillars of processed foods, the three ingredients without which there would be no processed foods.
Salt, sugar and fat drive consumption by adding flavor and allure. But surprisingly, they also mask bitter flavors that develop in the manufacturing process. They enable these foods to sit in warehouses or on the grocery shelf for months. So, how big is the processed food industry, exactly? What kind of scale are we talking about here? But the figure I find most revealing is 60, How did this get so big? But things really took off in the s with the promotion of convenience foods whose design and marketing was aimed at the increasing numbers of families with both parents working outside the home.
What three things should a health-conscious supermarket shopper keep in mind? The most alluring products — those with the highest amounts of salt, sugar and fat — are strategically placed at eye-level on the grocery shelf. You typically have to stoop down to find, say, plain oatmeal. Healthier products are generally up high or down low.
Reading labels is not easy. Check it out sometime. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you download this book from your favorite retailer. Read An Excerpt. Paperback —. download the Audiobook Download: Apple Audible downpour eMusic audiobooks. Add to Cart. About Michael Moss Michael Moss was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in , and was a finalist for the prize in and Product Details.