HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

When Bad Ideas Happen to Good Companies

Posted on | February 27, 2008 | 1 Comment

Does Safeway’s FoodFlex Program help consumers when it suggests replacing walnuts with almonds?

I love Safeway. I am impressed with their “Eating Right” line of food. I especially like their black bean soup, which offers 14 grams of fiber and only 120 calories for about a buck. True convenience, nutrition, and economy wrapped up in a pretty red bow.

But Safeway, what were you thinking when you launched the FoodFlex program? While your intentions may have been good, I think you are doing more to contribute to consumers’ misperceptions about good nutrition.

I am extremely worried about potential knowledge defecits when I see this article in The Washington Post – that’s right – The Post!

“My report told me I could have replaced the walnuts with sliced almonds, which have only 12 grams of fat per serving compared with walnuts’ 17.”

OK, so here we are comparing walnuts to almonds. Why?! How can this possibly be useful? The article actually referred to walnuts as “culprits.” What is this teaching people? Walnuts are bad? That’s false. Almonds are healthier than walnuts? I’d love to watch the debate on that one. We’re also talking about a difference of 5 grams of healthy fats between two healthy foods. This is a level of granularity that seems absurd to me.

Walnuts are rich in heart healthy omega 3 fats. Just 1/4 cup provides 90 percent of your daily needs for omega 3s. Almonds don’t have any. Knowing this would really benefit someone who has a family history of heart disease or would like to protect their heart. Most people don’t get enough omega 3s unless they eat foods like walnuts, salmon or other fish every day or if they take fish oil supplements. But people who read this article or participate in FoodFlex may very well go on to replacing walnuts with almonds.

I think these types of programs could lead to more problems, not solutions. At best, Safeway will sell more food. Yes, perhaps healthier foods at times. But will it be enough to make a shift in consumers nutrition behaviors? I’m just not convinced.

Comments

One Response to “When Bad Ideas Happen to Good Companies”

  1. Claire
    July 25th, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting
    videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something
    informative to read?

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