Are you just plain fed up with what is happening with our food supply? Evidently, the American public is as well and it is flexing its muscle in this area. Those of us who are making healthy choices are being heard because of how we are spending our dollars!
It is exciting to see that as a country we are finally coming around to understanding the relationship between what we eat and our health. Nutrition does make a difference. The quality of the food we put into our mouths can be the difference between health and sickness. It is as simple as that!
Target is Making Huge Changes in their Food Brands
Target recently met with a number of top suppliers in the food industry to let them know their brands were no longer going to be promoted as they have been in the past. Campbell Soup, General Mills and Kellogg were some of the companies summoned to this meeting.
Target let the representatives at the meeting know that they were going to be putting a new emphasis on fresh and healthy rather than processed, canned and bagged foods.
“That doesn’t mean that mac and cheese is being eliminated, but clearly assortment is being shaped around what consumers are looking for,” according to Brian Cornell, Target’s new chief executive.
However, this move by Target is a surprise blow to some of the key players in the food industry who reaped a huge profit from Target. Many food suppliers had expanded their sales offices and created exclusive products just for Target.
Target is unapologetic in this change. Their desire is to reach out to the younger generation of new shoppers that are looking for organic, healthy and natural brands.
In 2008 Target made a huge shift into the grocery industry to try and boost sales. The gamble has paid off. By 2015, about a fifth of Target’s total $73 billion in revenue comes from their grocery department.
Other Changes that Are Happening – Less Antibiotics
Unfortunately, for years chickens have been pumped with antibiotics for the purpose of promoting weight gain, hastening growth and staving off illness. This is in addition to the antibiotics that are given for the purpose of treating sick chickens. When we turn around and eat those chickens, we are also consuming a boatload of antibiotics. The food industry still questions whether this has a direct cause with developing more drug resistant drugs in people. So, even though they aren’t acknowledging that it is a problem, they are acknowledging that people are making a choice with their pocket books. When the consumer has a choice to purchase poultry that has been given fewer antibiotics, this is what they are opting for.
Growing Consumer Concerns Are Pushing Big Changes
Tyson Foods, Inc, the largest US meat packer by sales intends to reduce the use of antibiotics by 2017. This decision is in direct response to the American public expressing concern about drug-resistant bacteria. Tyson Foods successfully removed antibiotics from its chicken hatcheries in the spring of 2014. The company has also reduced antibiotics used to treat humans by 80% since 2011. The company believes the success they have had with these steps have led them to be confident to do more.
McDonald’s Corporation also acknowledged in March 2015 that it would require its chicken suppliers to drop antibiotics that are important to human health. Within two years the chicken dishes at McDonald’s will have less antibiotics in them.
Chick-fil-A, also, has committed to stop selling chicken dishes raised with antibiotics of any kind. This process may take up to five years. Panera Bread Co,, and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc have also made similar commitments.
Panera Bread Company will soon be eliminating at least 150 artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and preservatives from its menu by the end of 2016 according to an article published in the Wall Street Journal, May 5th 2015. The change is being made in response to the public wanting foods that are seen as simpler and more healthy. Sucralose, an artificial sweetener and titanium dioxide (used to whiten mozzarella cheese) have already been eliminated.
Panera Bread Co has been an industry leader in response to consumer trends. They stopped buying chickens raised with antibiotics a decade ago. In 2008 they eliminated trans fats which have been linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Chipotle Mexican Grill reported that it has almost completed the process in removing genetically modified ingredients from its supply chain.
More Positive Changes Are Happening
Food suppliers are also making an effort to reduce or eliminate artificial ingredients. Organic products are in great demand. Genetically modified ingredients are finally starting to get more of a bad name.
As consumers, as we continue to vote with our pocketbooks, we will make a difference in our food supply. Let’s continue to make that difference leaving the next generation with better choices!