Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Moss tackles the processed food industry in this eye-opening book. Each of the three sections focuses on one of the foundations of processed food: salt, sugar, and fat. Manufacturers use science, math, and taste tests to determine the “bliss point” of foods, to bring maximum satisfaction to consumers as well as to keep them eating. Moss interviewed many industry insiders who spoke about the fact that convenience is the most important ingredient, and that the selling of the product matters just as much as the food itself. He also touches on the notion that “fake” food is cheaper than “real” food. While not all the ideas presented by the author are new, he shows how food companies and their products have gotten to be the way they are and how the industry and the USDA try to distract the attention of the critical consumer.
I am a consumer of some processed foods, but I also read labels and consider myself a fairly savvy consumer. Yes I know those potato chips are bad for me, but once in a while is ok, right? What I took away from the book was a realization that I was eating more processed foods than I previously thought and how difficult it is to move away from that. Consumers ultimately have the choice of what to eat, so do we change our culture of convenience or press the food suppliers to create a healthier product?
If you are interested in this book, you may also want to check out: