Now they want plain packaging for food!

July 17th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Australian reports:

GRAPHIC images and plain packaging for junk food may be forced on consumers, as food industry heavyweights debate tough measures to combat obesity.

A panel of food science, nutrition and manufacturing experts will tackle whether tobacco’s plain packaging approach would help curb the state’s growing obesity epidemic at the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology convention today.

This is my concern over proposed plain packaging for tobacco. It sets a precedent that will be used in other areas such as alcohol and then food.

In New Zealand, Otago University professor of marketing Janet Hoek said tobacco use there had halved since the introduction of policies to restrict the way plain packaging was marketed.

But we don’t have plain packaging for tobacco implemented in NZ, so crediting it for a halving of the smoking rate is preposterous.

She called on the NZ Government to do the same for junk food, telling the New Zealand Herald“it makes sense to examine the potential these policies could have in reducing consumption of foods associated with obesity”.

Why not just have the state decide what foods we’re allowed to buy, what portion size is acceptable and have them deliver the approved foods to us every week?

UPDATE: The Australian it seems misreported Professor Hoek, and their article now says “tobacco use there had halved since the introduction of policies to restrict the way it was marketed”.

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41 Responses to “Now they want plain packaging for food!”

  1. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    “Why not just have the state decide what foods we’re allowed to buy, what portion size is acceptable and have them deliver the approved foods to us every week?”

    What, like education?

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  2. Pete George (23,796 comments) says:

    “…and have them deliver the approved foods to us every week?”

    We should have to cook for ourselves? Undercooked and overcooked food isn’t healthy.

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  3. dime (10,213 comments) says:

    maybe the govt could just assign tubes of a food like paste. every person gets 21 tubes a week.

    then we just keep a few restaurants open for the ruling elites & their friends. ya know, the ones who are smart enough to know how to eat properly.

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  4. Harriet (5,200 comments) says:

    “…What, like education?…”

    And like health…….they fucken monopolise both and end up with obesity!

    Conservatives believe in pursuing policies because they’re pragmatic and because they work.

    Whilst progs believe in pursuing policies because they’re “nice” and make them feel good. Whether the policies they’re advocating actually work or not is of secondary importance to them.

    Fuck the government and it’s ‘programmes’! :cool:

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  5. Rich Prick (1,750 comments) says:

    Social engineers just love this sort of thing. It means they get to decide what is “junk food” and boss the rest of us about.

    Just how does bread, beef, lettuce, onion, mayo and pickle suddenly turn into pure evil once it is all put into a McDonalds box? The social engineers will simply decalre it so.

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  6. wikiriwhis business (4,196 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t plain wrapping bring down prices instead of paying for fancy wrapping

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  7. infused (583 comments) says:

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  8. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    @wb Which you can already get by voluntarily buying store branded goods. But hey compulsion is always better than free choices made in a free market in some people’s world.

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  9. infused (583 comments) says:

    Plain packaging ain’t going to do shit. I pick up the product and read the back, like normal people. Fatties are going to be fat. Deal with it.

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  10. Sector 7g (242 comments) says:

    Maybe we could go back to allowing kids to play sports that they enjoy at school?
    Maybe we could lock up threats to the safety of our children rather than have parents to scared to let their kids go outside and play?
    Although, none of this would hurt those big bad corporations so fuck it. Plain packaging it is.

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  11. flipper (4,330 comments) says:

    I smell Selwood of OU in this mix.

    He and his ‘cracademic followers have been at it again this week, claiming women who drink one glass of wine LESS (less than what? ) each day will have a lower breast cancer rate., And TV One bought it, hook line and Selwood.

    This sort of “we know what is best for you” crap will continue for so long we believe we can control the other fellow’s (but not mine!) life.

    Social engineering? Yep. Kill it. stone dead.

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  12. graham (2,348 comments) says:

    “This is my concern over proposed plain packaging for tobacco. It sets a precedent that will be used in other areas such as alcohol and then food.”

    What, so this is sort of like a “slippery slope”? Hmm, where have I heard that phrase before? And who mocked it before?

    Be interesting to see if the same people who mocked the “slippery slope” concept three months ago will do the same now.

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  13. Harriet (5,200 comments) says:

    “…..Wouldn’t plain wrapping bring down prices instead of paying for fancy wrapping….’

    Shit no!

    Prices on smokes went up here in QLD whilst it was being introduced. Sure, it was only 50c or so but……

    Plain packaging is NOT just about pictures and colours, but also brand names. They decrease in size to ‘very bloody small’ and the name is only printed once on each packet. And also, everything looks exactly the same now.
    Which means that some identical food products will increase in sales volume if they are placed on eye level shelves in supermarkets, whilst those on lower or higher shelves will decrease in volume – meaning that prices for the lower volume sales will need to be increased. Currently, cheaper products are mostly placed on the lower shelves, but without readily seen ‘recognisable labels’ there will be a fight for the ‘premium shelves’ – which manufacturers pay a premium for – these will go up in price – and so too will the products on them.

    And people will be spending 2 more hours in the supermarket trying to find stuff! :cool:

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  14. rouppe (983 comments) says:

    Hmmm. I think plain packaging of women should be introduced to reduce the shocking incidence of objectification, sexualisation and unwanted attention that women suffer.

    Bring on the burqa’s!

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  15. burt (7,425 comments) says:

    It all comes back to the same thing – If the government is big enough to give you everything you want it is big enough to take everything you have off you.

    One day we’ll wake up and realise that voting for governments that give us other peoples money means voting for governments that control what we do….

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  16. burt (7,425 comments) says:

    rouppe

    Excellent idea. Plain packaging on dating web sites would stop the disappointment when the photo-shopped image isn’t the reality in person.

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  17. graham (2,348 comments) says:

    Plain packaging on election billboards?

    *Cough* *cough* Helen Clark *cough*

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  18. scrubone (3,097 comments) says:

    Junk food tends to be in one isle, which I rarely enter anyway. It’s part of life to say no.

    But if you really want to meddle the solution is simple: make a narrow entry and exit to that isle. Problems solved.

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  19. EmmaChisit (18 comments) says:

    professor of marketing Janet Hoek said tobacco use there had halved since the introduction of policies to restrict the way plain packaging was marketed.
    Either she is being devious or manipulative!! as she omits the fact that at the same time as plain packaging was introduced there was as a significant price increase. If she was half a maketeer she would know that increased cost will reduce consumption…

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  20. Kea (13,557 comments) says:

    The only GRAPHIC images needed to put me off junk food are the shoppers, or a typical Woman from the English speaking world.

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  21. Pete George (23,796 comments) says:

    Good attempt scrubone, but no, temptation hits you as you walk in the door (usually wine and beer) and continues to the sweet treats trying to extract more business out of you at the checkout.

    In separate isles at supermarkets I’m familiar with: cheeses, breads, confectionary, lolly water, snack food, ice cream, meats, bakery, biscuits etc etc.

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  22. Pete George (23,796 comments) says:

    There is a slight difference between food and tobacco, we an survive without one but not the other.

    And if we continue on enforced food education should there be supermarkets encouraging more eating dedicated to anorexics? They wouldn’t have to be very big shops.

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  23. JeffW (327 comments) says:

    Janet Hoek’s tenure on the teat needs to come to an end, along with the rest of the people who plan how to make government bigger and ever more controlling.

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  24. BigFish (132 comments) says:

    Psychologically flawed thinking.
    Supermarkets package up their cheapest, nastiest food in plain home-brand packaging already to create an illusion of value.
    May as well legislate to make everything taste awful too.

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  25. Peter (1,694 comments) says:

    We need plain packaging for all politicians and state bureaucrats, lest we encourage more of them.

    Wogistan: Burqa Central

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  26. Shunda barunda (2,986 comments) says:

    So let me get this straight, we need to scare poor fat people away from eating crap food because they are too fat, but we need to feed the kids of poor fat people in schools because they are too hungry?

    But then again, the left created a child obesity crisis as well, so I am thoroughly confused as to who is actually fat, which kids are fat, what level of fatness is obese, what level of fatness is acceptable, and how we can make skinny kids fatter without making the fat kids obese!!

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  27. Crampton (213 comments) says:

    Complete agreement on the big picture here, David. But I think Hoek here was misquoted – it looked like the Oz papers pulled and mangled something she’d said a month ago in the NZ Herald where she was quoted as saying that tobacco use had halved since restrictions on tobacco marketing had been put in place. There’s a big bucket of mess in attributing causality on that one, but what the Oz papers have done with the quote is nonsensical.

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  28. shoreboy57 (141 comments) says:

    While the Aussie papers did screw up Crampton the core message is the same. Hoek thinks food companies are no different to Tobacco companies and wants all the same measures applied to her definition of unhealthy food.

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  29. Kea (13,557 comments) says:

    I think we should make fat people feel bad about their eating and run tax payer funded campaigns reminding them how disgusting they are, how much they cost in health care, and how much decent people loathe fat people. They should not be allowed to stuff their faces in public places either. They can go outside in the cold and kill themselves. Yuk.

    Just like we do for smoking.

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  30. Crampton (213 comments) says:

    Agree entirely, shoreboy. Big picture entirely correct: she wants restrictions on foods modeled on restrictions on tobacco. Her policy position is objectionable enough without making a big deal about the bit for which she isn’t really to blame.

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  31. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    “Supermarkets package up their cheapest, nastiest food in plain home-brand packaging already to create an illusion of value.”

    Not true. Store brands are made by the same manufacturers as consumer branded products, typically the supermarket will try and get as high a quality spec as possible. In fact, particularly in the case of things like dairy, often it is exactly the same product, just with different wrapping and a lower price point.

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  32. shoreboy57 (141 comments) says:

    True only in part KiwiGreg. Supermarkets look for best deal they can. Milk they really have no choice but Fonterra or Goodman Fielder. Lots of other generic products sourced at lowest cost from suppliers in foreign lands who specialise in manufacturing to a price

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  33. Pete George (23,796 comments) says:

    By comparing packaging with name brands you can sometimes tell where consumer branded products come from.

    Some are equal to name brands, but others are not. Most of the consumer branded canned goods are from Asia or South Africa, you have to search for New Zealand grown products – and pay a premium.

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  34. Monty (899 comments) says:

    The green Taliban will decide what foods we are allowed to eat. We will all be skinny vegan iron deficient, sandal wearing public transport advocates. The Maui Dolphin will be saved from extinction. We will all enjoy the same income no matter what. It is not our right to question why such measures will be good for us. We just need to accept that the measures are for our own good.

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  35. OneTrack (3,358 comments) says:

    Everybody knows that the only food that will be banned and/or taxed is that food that comes from big, American-based companies. Come to think of it they don’t even need to be big.

    And call me a pedant, and I know you guys are really thinking of your trip to Hawaii, but it’s aisle.

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  36. KevinH (1,257 comments) says:

    Price control is the most effective means of reducing consumption, it worked for tobacco. Plain packaging was not the single most effective means of reducing consumption, addicts will consume their substances regardless of the packaging.
    The taxpayer will have to fund health care for the obese therefore the funds have to come from the source i.e. the food that caused the obesity.
    Similar to tobacco, I would advocate for higher taxes on fast foods, tax of 20-30%.

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  37. Kea (13,557 comments) says:

    KevinH (993) Says:
    July 17th, 2013 at 7:40 pm
    Price SELF control is the most effective means of reducing consumption…

    There fixed it for you Kev.

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  38. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    Smoking Gun

    Posted: 15 Jul 2013 12:33 PM PDT

    Who killed the plan for cigarettes to be sold only in plain packets?

    By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 16th July 2013

    It’s a victory for the hidden persuaders, the astroturfers, sock puppets, purchased scholars and corporate moles. On Friday the government announced that it will not oblige tobacco companies to sell cigarettes in plain packets.

    How did it happen? The public was overwhelmingly in favour. The evidence that plain packaging will discourage young people from smoking is powerful(1). It fell victim to a lobbying campaign that was anything but plainly packaged.

    Tobacco companies are not allowed to advertise their products. Nor, as they are so unpopular, can they appeal directly to the public. So they spend their cash on astroturfing (fake grassroots campaigns(2)) and front groups. There is plenty of money to be made by people unscrupulous enough to take it.

    Much of the anger about this decision has been focused on Lynton Crosby. Crosby is David Cameron’s election coordinator. He also runs a lobbying company which works for the cigarette firms Philip Morris and British American Tobacco(3,4). He personifies the new dispensation, in which men and women glide between corporations and politics, and appear to act as agents for big business within government. The purpose of today’s technocratic politics is to make democracy safe for corporations: to go through the motions of democratic consent while reshaping the nation at their behest.

    But even if Crosby is sacked, the infrastructure of hidden persuasion will remain intact. Nor will it be affected by the register of lobbyists David Cameron will announce this Tuesday, antiquated before it is launched.

    http://www.monbiot.com

    we’re sooooo lucky we don’t suffer from that lot here….. :shock:

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  39. OneTrack (3,358 comments) says:

    “Why not just have the state decide what foods we’re allowed to buy, what portion size is acceptable and have them deliver the approved foods to us every week”

    Probably already in the Green party manifesto – Eyes Only version of course.

    Think of the unemployment it will solve with new Ministry of Food chefs cooking up mung bean soup. And then the delivery department – bicycle of course. Don’t worry about the cost – they have their printer at the ready.

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  40. OneTrack (3,358 comments) says:

    KevinH – “Similar to tobacco, I would advocate for higher taxes on fast foods, tax of 20-30%.”

    So only “fast-food” causes obesity. Nothing to do with big fry-ups, hangis, just eating too much, etc.

    And do you advocate this for all types of fast-food ie salads, sandwiches, fruit juice, etc. Or will it just apply to all food supplied by fast-food outlets owned by American companies, irrespective of how many calories are actually in the food? Or are we talking a new Ministry to certify which foods get the extra tax? Do the tomato slices and lettuce in a burger get taxed or just the “bad” stuff?

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  41. Left Right and Centre (3,007 comments) says:

    scrubone 11:59 am I’m with Pete George on your comment-

    At my pak n save- half of it or more is full of things that can be a problem.

    There’s the actual out and out junk food aisle as you say. But then in a gunshot scatter all over the shop are other things to watch out for-

    The bakery, deli, bread/ soft drink aisle, breakfast spreads, gravies, cooking oil, sauces, powders, condiments, breakfast cereals, dairy products, cheap high fat meats, beer and wine, bulk bins, tinned fruit, instant meals in freezers, ready cooked meals, hot food cabinet, confectionary at checkout, soft drinks at checkout, rice, pasta, baking aisle.

    Portion size is the problem. Butter isn’t junk food. Until you have too much of it. Same with red meat. A bit of mince is ok… until you’re eating 500g a day of it cooked in oil.

    You can see by the turnover of all those items… the sheer amount that’s for sale.. that ‘normal’ grocery items not considered ‘junk food’ also contribute highly to wasted waistlines. And all of that stuff…. is everywhere you turn in a supermarket. It’s an unlimited universe of kilojoules with your full attention.

    For eg…. look at all the red meat for sale. Does that represent too much red meat that people are buying? When you isolate food energy value… it doesn’t matter whether it’s ‘junk food’ or red meat in terms of where the extra kilojoules come from. So… you could gain all your weight from cheese and butter for eg. So to me… the whole supermarket is full of landmines.

    I’m a total sucker. I’m in shape… but I’ll still buy some pick n mix sweets *just for the trip home*.

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