Farting against Thunder


Do you like crisps?

I do.

I like crisps, peanuts, popcorn, honey-roast cashews, rice cakes, pretzels, mignons morceaux, poppadoms, puffy wheat puff matter snacks etc.

When I was little, I used to stop at the newsagent on the way home and buy four packs of tomato cheetos and 4 packs of pickled onion Space Raiders. I might also have bought myself a Wham bar as well for pudding. I’d then scoff the lot in front of Neighbours and Home and Away (shown back to back).

I barely remember any adverts for crisps and suchlike on TV. It was just something that people did. But let’s assume for a moment that this is an issue of advertising versus public information for a minute.

Who do you think is throwing more resources at the issue of reaching out for the minds of kids when it comes to what they eat? The government or the food manufacturers? I suspect the government is farting against thunder here.

The other thunder the government faces is the attitude of parents and kids. This food is bad for you but it tastes great and is fairly cheap. So kids shut up whilst they stuff themselves full with 25p chicken kievs from the frozen food shop and parents are happy because their household budgets balance. Parents also don’t like being told what to do with their kids, it seems and some are deliberately feeding their kids rubbish in an attempt to exercise “Choice”.

Obesity is a health issue. But it is also a class issue. Cheap, affordable and available food is the stuff that makes us fat. Families on low incomes buy in bulk and buy frozen. Wealthier families consume more fresh fruit and vegetables and better quality food.

So that’s why, whilst I’m impressed by the design of the poster and the message the government is promoting, I fear that the real story has become about the government advertising campaign, rather than the health risks people are exposing themselves to: the posters are doomed to rot on bus-shelters and fade away like people’s concerns over the crap they (as do I) shovel into their bodies.

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