This week two businessmen, who I am not going to name ( a pair of them) created yet more controversy and got away with it. These two lads have a very successful business, and I had admired them for years, as they grew their food brand, got into lots of supermarkets and did loads of great marketing. However, I’ve long stopped that admiration, as they moved from food brand producers to “expert advisors on well-being and health” something neither of them are qualified to do.
This week on their branded pod cast, a guru from the US (who by the way also sells supplements) claimed antibiotics had been shown to lead to anxiety and depression !! Last year another of their podcast guests stated that, in the western world breast cancer could be linked to lifestyle and nutrition and women should eat mushrooms to try to prevent it! When the complaints and outrage started to flood in this week and last year, the pair apparently apologised. But these apologies don’t seem to be anywhere online. So yet again this week, online and in traditional media, a lot of noise has been made about their brand and call me a cynic and maybe it’s a coincidence, but they just also happened to have launched some new food products this week as well.
Its wrong and it’s not a level playing field!! No food brand or supplement seller should be allowed to give nutritional or medical advice. No person unless very well scientifically qualified, should be allowed to give advice on nutrition or health, because of course we have a vested interest!
But let me give you our experience, and I would love to know what you think? Not long after we started in business our government inspector asked us to remove the words “Gluten Free” from our yogurt. Our yogurt is gluten free but because yogurt is usually always gluten free she felt we might be misleading the public. Ironically common question we always get is, is Velvet Cloud gluten free ? We took off the offending phrase, it cost us €600 in new printing plate charges (that is huge amount for a start-up ☹), but we are tightly regulated and the last thing you do is go against your inspector. Another while passed another inspector, decided she didn’t like the term “Digestion Friendly”, said it had to go, another €600 in costs and its gone off our pots. Don’t get me wrong I totally agree with the legislation, consumers must be protected and its very easy with clever marketing to mislead them, so this control is important. But my issue is with the enforcement. Look at the yogurt shelves now, there are lots and lots of big brands out there with terms like Good For Your Gut, Gut Friendly Bacteria, Live Probiotics, etc etc. and for some reason they are still on shelf? Then these two dudes, promote seriously damaging messages about health, they just say sorry and off they go again and launch new products.
Perhaps I’m turning into a grumpy old woman, you can see my full video rant here, but it feels like an uphill battle sometimes.