An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat
Ecco, Hardcover, 9780061363863, 272pp.
Publication Date: February 1, 2009
It was his job to keep you eating.
It was his job to keep you drinking.
It was his job to keep you buying.
Unfortunately for you, he was good at it.
For more than thirty years, Hank Cardello was an executive and adviser to some of the largest food and beverage corporations in the world. For more than thirty years, he watched as corporate profits—and America's waistlines—ballooned: fattening consumers meant fattening profits. Now, in this fascinating and timely book, Cardello offers a behind-the-scenes look at the business of food, providing an insider's account of food company practices, failed government regulations, and misleading media coverage that have combined to place us in the middle of a national obesity epidemic.
With insights culled from Cardello's time in the food industry, Stuffed explores how food companies have spent the last fifty years largely ignoring healthier fare in the name of their bottom lines while pushing consumers toward "convenience" food and supersize portions without considering the health consequences. From grocery aisles to restaurant booths to boardrooms, Cardello reveals the hidden forces that have long shaped your supermarket purchases and menu selections. He examines the black-and-white mindset that has produced the carefully targeted marketing strategies that have maximized profits for the food industry and led to weight gain for you.
But Cardello makes clear that the food companies should not take all the blame. They are merely a cog in a larger system that's broken, and here Cardello illustrates how the government and the media have only made it harder for Americans to make nutritious choices. Highlighting both bit players and high-profile voices of change, Cardello explains the fundamental risks to one-size-fits-all regulatory solutions and the bigger dangers posed by letting the food pundits confuse the health conversation.
More than simply a chronicle of how we got here, Stuffed also puts forth a groundbreaking blueprint for the future of the food industry. In debunking the common myth that "healthier" has to mean higher costs and unpalatable tastes, Cardello provides novel but concrete steps that food companies can take to fatten their profits and slim down their customers. In addition, he stresses the realistic role that consumers must play in America's new health equation, explaining that unless they demand healthier food with their wallets, America will continue to tip the scales for years to come.
Provocative and insightful, Stuffed is a sweeping critique of excessive food consumption in America, one that uncovers the money behind the calories and presents a fresh vision for building health into the lives of ordinary Americans.
“An interesting look into the psychological world of the ‘Big Food’ business. . . . Stuffed is a great book because it is honest, and Cardello does not mince words when it comes to the reality of our nation’s misguided obsession with food.”
“Anyone who is interested in their health and thinks they’re educated about nutrition needs to read this book.”
“Food companies would be more profitable and keep their customers longer if they adopted the ideas in Stuffed.”
-Tom Ryan, former Chief Concept Officer of McDonald’s Corporation
“Straightforward and sobering. We all know the food industry is big business, but Cardello shows in clear terms just how big it is—with suppliers all over the world—and why this makes it so slow to improve.”
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Thought-provoking...informative and filled with clever ideas, [Stuffed] will certainly get people talking and thinking.”
“Former food-industry executive and current anti-obesity advocate Cardello calls on his erstwhile colleagues to become custodians of their customers’ well-being. . . . The point zings home: The food industry knows how to sell; now it has to sell the right thing.”