Potential in the US Food Industry

By the time you were two years old, almost all of the fat cells in your body were formed.[1] Once created, it is the evolutionary goal of these cells to remain filled. Before and soon after you were born, the food industry impacted your predisposition for obesity through the diet of your mother, milk formula solutions, and store-bought baby food. After heightening the weight-loss struggle of the 69% of Americans over age 20 that are overweight, a new segment of the food industry is trying to fix the problem, racking in enormous profits in the process.[2]

[protected]The cheapest and most readily available foods in the US are loaded with sugar. Sugar and salt reduce the movement of water in foods, allowing fewer bacteria to grow and cause spoilage.1 The food industry capitalizes on longer shelf lives and fewer losses due to waste. The problem with these over-processed foods is that the fiber is removed, which causes sugars and carbohydrates to be quickly absorbed by the body instead of passing through the large intestine.1 For the vast majority of Americans that eat processed foods and are seeing the results on their waistline, a solution to the obesity problem is well worth the cost.

For the diet soda industry, this cost is to the tune of $21 billion dollars.[3] Herbalife, a leading company of weight loss products, earned $537 million in North America last year alone.[4] Even the smallest of segments in the weight loss industry, such as specialized clinics that closely monitor dieting, bring in a collective $400 million in the US.3

But the continuing rising trend in adult and child obesity leaves much to be desired from the food industry that markets products as “diet.” Even Activia with its slim waist logo contains 15.9 grams of sugar in a single cup of strawberry yogurt.[5] These gaps in veritable weight loss results leave an open stage for companies offering bona fide solutions.

The alarming increases in childhood obesity that prompted the First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign have led some companies to take on the challenge of helping kids eat healthier diets. One such company is Revolution Foods, a start-up based in California that provides one million lunches to school children per week.[6] The food they provide is free of high-fructose corn syrup and transfats.6 To mediate the problem of spoilage during shipping, the food is locally produced. The positive results from the improved diet (with low sugar and high fiber) won the company a contract to serve 114 schools in the state.6 With the school lunch industry bringing in $16 billion yearly, we can expect more companies like Revolution Foods to fight for market shares.6 Americans struggling with obesity will surely root for them to win.[/protected]