Read Part 1 of The Great Weight Gain Addiction Game
Just add sugar.
I recall the parents in the neighborhood where I grew up making pitchers of Kool Aid to bring down summer temps and refresh overheated children. A packet of the flavored mix went into a pitcher followed by a tray of ice cubes followed by what seemed a mountain of sugar. Add water, stir well, and presto, hoards of supercharged children playing summer games at a breakneck pace. The temporary cool lifted like a fog, and the summer temps returned soon enough. We didn’t care because we had drank the magic. All that was needed was a bit of grape or orange flavor, a flow of tap water, and a shovel’s worth of sugar.
So remember, just add sugar. Afterall, it is the fix-all miracle drug of the food industry.
The Lunchable Sugar Fix
Working mothers were feeling the crunch: trying to prepare breakfast for the kids, then getting them ready for school, and putting together lunches for them to carry to school, while at the same time prepping themselves for work. As it so happens, Oscar Meyer was experiencing a meat crisis at the same time. Worlds collided and Lunchables rose from the rubble.The mind set of the 1980’s was that red meat equaled heart attacks, strokes, and high cholesterol. Selling a product that painted images of an emergency room was an uphill climb and red meat consumption dropped by 10%. Then along came those working moms.
When asked how they felt about lunch (i.e. bologna or ham sandwiches), moms spoke about those early morning challenges. What they did not speak about was any particular concern regarding bologna or ham sandwiches.
Oscar Meyer assembled a team to address the morning whirlwind felt by working mothers. They came up with a handy, ready made package of bologna, crackers and processed cheese that would rake in $218 million in the first year. After some fine tuning to address the problem of production costs digging into profits, the next step was how to grow the franchise. It was back to basics: Just add sugar. Lunchables with Dessert was introduced and soon followed by the Fun Pack. And what is more fun than a Snicker’s bar or M&M’s or a Reese’s cup topped off by a drink that is loaded with sugar?
The Maxed Out tray would be released later on and had an entire days recommendation for kids of saturated fat, two thirds of the maximum for sodium, and 13 teaspoons of sugar.
Lunchables became a sensation. There were pizza Lunchables, Beef Taco Wrap Lunchables, Mini Burger Lunchables, Mini Hot Dog Lunchables. There were even pancake and waffle Lunchables. Sales have exceeded one billion dollars and it all started with sugar.
Read the tenth and final segment of the Great Weight Gain Addiction Game, which focuses on the addictive nature of salt as well as the marketing of everyone’s favorite snack, the potato chip.
Living life well-fed,
My Bariatric Life
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New York Times
Published On: December 10, 2013