It looks like there’s one part of Michelle Obama’s legacy that Donald Trump can’t dismantle now that some of the big food brands have seemingly rallied behind her wishes. This comes after the Trump administration has put a “freeze” on some parts of Michelle Obama’s work while she was the first lady of the nation. Her legacy of promoting healthy eating is safe when it comes to some of the commercial businesses, according to a new report today. Is this really keeping with the former first lady’s wishes or does Michelle’s legacy fit nicely when it comes to profits?
Trump is rolling back some of the components of Michelle’s healthy eating campaign, which was a campaign devised to make America a healthier nation through food consumption. This entails putting some of these components on the back burner, like standards for school lunches and restaurants labeling calories. It seems that some of the big businesses are out of Trump’s reach when it comes to putting the brakes on parts of Michelle Obama’s legacy, suggests the Washington Post today.
There are two ways to look at the legacy that Michelle Obama left behind when it comes to the big businesses, which are forging ahead with making their food a healthier choice. While the changes will benefit the consumers health-wise, it will also benefit the businesses money-wise, which is a great incentive for any company to make changes.
The Washington Post points out that “in the past two weeks alone, the Trump administration has stalled nutrition standards for school lunches and delayed rules that require restaurants to label menu calories.” They also report that the companies have “financial and political motivations” in mind when making these changes.
What the Post didn’t express was how these changes also seem to add to the problem consumers have been experiencing in the grocery stores for a few years now. That problem would be paying more for a product and getting less in the package for their money.
Trump is being painted as an ogre over what he has done with the school lunches, and he is looked upon by some people as a president who doesn’t care about what the kids in this country eat. According to Occupy Democrats, meddling with the school lunches is “another display of how grossly misplaced Republican priorities are.” But reports do say a good portion of those healthy lunches were going to waste. According to the Independent Journal Review, a “study from the University of Vermont has documented the waste generated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,” which was a program championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
According to CBS Connecticut, that waste is causing schools to have a 56 percent increase in food waste, which was demonstrated in this study back in 2015. Some feel it is better for the kids to eat rather than presenting the kids with healthy food day after day that they won’t eat.
Another part of Michelle Obama’s legacy was aimed at the commercial sector, attempting to get them to sell healthier foods and portions. This is a wish that many of the food companies appear all too happy to oblige, as it also benefits their profit margins.
Back in 2014, the Boston Globe published an article about “the incredible shrinking package.” Anyone who has walked down a supermarket aisle in the past several years knows exactly what the problem of the “shrinking package” is all about. More and more companies are giving you less of their product in a smaller package, but this traditionally doesn’t come with a lower price on that package. There has also been a lot of creativity around this, as many of the companies are keeping their packages, boxes, jars, and cans close enough to their original size so you may not notice the difference.
Most people noticed when the coffee cans got smaller, and while you got less product, it didn’t cost you less. The Boston Globe noted a few years back about how there was once a time when a “1 pound can of coffee contained 1 pound of coffee.” Today, you get about 11 ounces in that can. This holds true for many other products, like ice cream and sugar. You no longer get a half-gallon of ice cream or five pounds of sugar.
Back in 2014, Phil Lempert, who is the editor of SupermarketGuru.com, made a prediction that has come true. Lempert said that “if you look at USDA projections, food is going to get more expensive. And as a result, food companies are going to do one of two or three things: Raise prices and keep packages the same or reduce the quantity in the package. Or do a little of both.”
The packages got smaller and the prices went sky-high, and while this is not an official quote from an expert, just ask anyone who does the weekly grocery shopping for their household and they will tell you this is the case today.
Looking at the dilemma of smaller packaging and higher prices, one might say that Michelle Obama’s healthier eating plan has helped divert some problems for the big food companies that have agreed to shrink their products under the umbrella of healthier eating. With this spin on the portions getting smaller for “healthier” reasons, it now appears that many people will commend them instead of getting angry that they are getting less product for their money.
More than a dozen companies have announced their new initiatives with the Partnership for a Healthier America, which is a program Michelle Obama still chairs and one that she helped to create. Bringing “smaller candy bars to checkout aisles” along with gas stations offering more water along with their sugary drinks are all a part of this move to see Americans eating healthier.
The Washington Post reports that “the candy makers Mars, Nestle, Ferrara, Lindt & Sprungli and Ferrero Rocher have promised PHA they will cut portion sizes of half their products to 200 calories or less by 2022, and label at least 90 percent with front-of-pack nutrition information.”
Michelle Obama’s legacy has taken the “incredible shrinking package,” which was once a bone of contention among consumers and put it in a different light. Today, that shrinking package contains a healthier eating choice, so it is no longer fooling the consumer by supplying less of the product — it is now a deed done for their health and a deed to be celebrated.
[Featured Image by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Images]