Food Corporations’ Impact on Nutrition Habits

Topic: Nutrition
Words: 1126 Pages: 4


Food forms one of the most important commodities in human life since it is required for survival as a basic need. As a result, the need for different types of food and consumer needs in this industry has led to the growth of corporations that mass produce different products. However, with tastes and preferences growing over time, companies have engaged scientists and invested in research and development (R&D) to better meet their markets’ demands (Insel et al., 2018). However, in most cases, it is becoming increasingly evident that such foods are not healthy and have been developed to increase company sales rather than meet the nutritional requirements. Consequently, Michael Moss delved into the world of food corporations to find what is put in foods and the psychology used to induce people into consuming food products when presenting at Hofstra University.

Summary of Moss’s Presentation – Salt Sugar Fat

Michael Moss became interested in food based on encounters with friends and family over increasing cases of illness caused by the consumption of different processed products. With the rise of incidents involving the development of E. coli in individuals who consumed processed meat, Moss was intrigued to find out the root cause of such issues by investigating food corporations (Hofstra University, 2019). His investigation led to different encounters with research and development (R&D) units of major companies, including Nestle and Kellogg’s, which are some of the leading producers of processed food globally.

The amount of scientific research put into developing different foods is staggering. Moss states that “companies such as Dr. Pepper used a renowned mathematician to develop a bliss point for sweetness for the different drinks they produce” (Hofstra University, 2019). This indicates that food corporations know the right amount of sugar to add to products to ensure that their consumers enjoy it the most. Such sugar intake has continued to thrive with the introduction of different types in several grocery products that previously did not have any. For instance, approximately 56 new sugars are currently used in products such as bread and yogurt. Apart from that, salt has also been used in processed foods as a preservative and a cover-up to mask the unpleasant taste of different preservatives. This indicates the level of unwarranted inputs in food products, creating a dependency on the sweet and sour sensations created once consumed.

Apart from that, the marketing techniques used by food corporations to induce consumers also play a role in increasing consumption. Moss further discovered the vanishing caloric density, which refers to a set proportion of food that disappears in the mouth when consumed, prompting brain signals to crave and eat more since its calories are perceived to have disappeared (Hofstra University, 2019). Such psychological traits are common in the processed food industry, which has coined specific language and tactics to engage consumers. For instance, grocery stores normally place all sweet and popular products at eye level to engage potential buyers. Therefore, the concerted efforts by food corporations to promote unhealthy food options have been on the rise, leading to increased health conditions such as obesity and heart disease.

Application of Information to Personal Life

The presentation by Moss offers insight into the strategies different corporations employ to induce consumers to purchase their products. In most cases, these options are filled with elements with little to no nutritional value that create a sense of addiction to processed food. More so, the marketing campaigns have been skewed to focus on minor health issues rather than the long-term effects of their constant intake on consumers’ health. Therefore, Moss’s presentation can be applied in my personal life to improve food choices and take a keen interest in learning more about the ingredients and additives in products that I regularly consume. This will provide an opportunity to make better diet choices by integrating more produce that adds nutritional value to the body instead of satisfying cravings.

Acknowledging the negative effects associated with processed foods offers an opportunity to investigate the contents of each package. Notably, there are several artificial sweeteners and preservatives that are present in different types of foods. Paying close attention to these will be important moving forward to gain knowledge on their contents, allowing better interrogation. Salt, sugar, and fat have been identified as the most conspicuous culprits in processed food. As a result, most corporations use combinations of these elements to develop sensations in consumers that drive them not only to continue liking the product but to crave more of them continuously. The use of these elements is deeply rooted in the need to sell more products and boost revenues for these corporations. Therefore, identifying the biased aspects of eh messaging strategies employed will improve decision-making when making choices in various food stores.

More so, understanding the goals and objectives of major corporations in their advertising and marketing stunts is also crucial in avoiding bias. Being bombarded with advertisements to consume particular products can be overwhelming for a food consumer. Insel et al. (2018) state that “businesses spend approximately $9.6 billion annually marketing food and beverages, both on television and online, with more than $1.79 billion specifically targeting children and adolescents” (p. 6). This is boosted by the large investments in R&D and marketing departments that tailor messages to consumers intended at deceiving them to increase their intake of processed foods. As a result, the concept of ‘snacking’ has become a household phenomenon globally, leading to more individuals introducing a fourth meal into their daily diets to consume such foods. Consequently, this requires more attention to marketing campaigns involving food and the underlying messages intended for consumers, allowing the interrogation of the true intentions of such strategies.


In his presentation at Hofstra University, Michael Moss delved into the world of food corporations to find what is put in foods and the psychology they use to induce people into consuming food products. His investigation showed a high level of unwarranted inputs in food products, creating a sense of dependency on the sweet and sour sensations they create. More so, food corporations have heavily invested in research and development and marketing campaigns to keep people consuming their products. However, this can be overcome by acknowledging the negative effects associated with processed foods, thus prompting an investigation of the contents in each package at an individual level. Furthermore, understanding the goals and objectives of major corporations in their advertising and marketing stunts is also crucial in avoiding bias. Food corporations, in most cases, put their revenue generation at the forefront of their objectives, neglecting the health impacts of their products on their consumers. Therefore, taking a more proactive role in understanding the influence of processed foods can empower people to demand better from such companies and protect their well-being.


Hofstra University. (2019). Salt sugar fat – Michael Moss [Video file].

Insel, D. R., McMahon, K., & Bernstein, M. (2018). Discovering nutrition (6th ed.). Burlington: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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