In an attempt to address society’s concerns that too many children are overweight, the Food Standards Agency suggest the reducing the standard size of chocolate bars to no more than 40 grams will encourage people to eat less chocolate. It is intended also to do away with those bars of chocolate which are super-sized since the trend for children to eat these is also of concern. Will this really address the problems faced by society of tackling obesity? It is doubtful. Those accustomed to eating candy will still be able to purchase it, and may even be encouraged to buy more than one bar in the hope of feeling satisfied.
*Mini bar introduction.
*Restricting sugar and fats.
*Effects of advertising and marketing.
*Alternative means of addressing the problems.
*Positive effects of change.
Mini bar introduction.
Within the past ten years, many firms have already introduced bags of miniature bars. What has been discovered is that families are happy to purchase these as snacks and the sales have increased. Instead of a child being satisfied with one bar, they tend to eat more. The mini bars currently sold in supermarkets do very little to address problems if families don’t use them to the best advantage. For example, when packing lunches for kids, putting one bar in as a treat is fine. When parents pass the message to their kids that these bars are freely available for the family to eat when they like, they encourage bad eating habits. It is healthier to introduce alternatives such as fruit and nuts, rather than to allow children unlimited candy. Bearing this in mind, will people’s attitudes change when the new sizes come into force? It is unlikely if this is the only measure taken.
Restricting sugar and fats.
Families should not be depending upon manufacturers for their nutritional needs, but should be aware of the needs of their children. With all the good will in the world, manufacturers may be seen as trying to tackle the problem but in effect are in business for profit, and will not impose any restriction in purchases. Therefore, smaller bars mean people will buy more to satisfy their needs. The way sugars and fats should be addressed is in the overall nutritional planning of the family.
Effects of advertising and marketing.
Most companies work towards getting more sales. Unfortunately the trend at the moment is to say to people that things are better for their health. In newspapers and magazines worldwide, there is a push to be healthy. By reducing the size of chocolate bars, the manufacturers also put themselves in a stronger position to market their goods as better for people’s health. It is in fact true that a small bar is less harmful than a large bar, but all that has changed is quantity. Bear in mind that people will choose to buy as much as they like, the manufacturers are almost giving license for people to buy more by advertising their options as healthy.
Alternative means of addressing the problems.
The diet which families eat should be balanced. Children are growing and need nourishment. If their needs are not addressed in a balanced manner, no amount of reduction in the size of bars will make any difference. Of course children enjoy treats, though learning to enjoy healthy alternatives is a better way to go. Often people are lulled into a sense of security by believing what advertisements say. The reality is that fresh fruit and vegetables and the items available which add calcium and the minerals and vitamins needed by the body, balanced with the right kind of drinks is the only way forward. Educate people on alternatives and perhaps there will be a difference. Tell them smaller bars are healthier, they won’t be educated sufficiently to realize the difference.
Positive effects of change.
If children are obese, it is better to tackle the root problem rather than feeding them smaller bars of chocolate. Packet foods and preparations are making society lazy. High fat foods harm the body, as do those which provide little nutritional value. Fresh fruit and vegetables, lean white meats, pasta, rice and all the spectrum of healthy foods should be explored to reap the positive effects of change. Change doesn’t come in the form of a 40 gram bar of chocolate. It’s a start, but only when families realize the nutritional value of the food given to kids is essential to consider. Hand in hand with manufacturers who are trying to educate the public, perhaps there is a way forward, though the changing of weight of candy bars is only the tip of the iceberg.