Baptist preachers have a reputation - probably deserved - of being fat. That doesn't make them slow bellies. A lot of it is an occupational hazard. Part of it is ignorance. This blog is dedicated to blasting ignorance with a little knowledge - and a few laughs!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Corporate Giants and Giant Consumers

What do Double Stuff Oreo® Cookies, Blue M&M's® candies and Whey Protein Concentrate have in common?


I know it is tempting to guess that these all represent essential nutrients for our health and waistlines.  The tip off that this is the wrong answer is that all colors of M&M's contain exactly the same nutritional value; each color of M&M's will nourish you as well, if not as flamboyantly, as blue.


It can't be taste, or Whey Protein Concentrate would not be on the list.


It can't be price; only Oreos and M&M's are priced to fit any budget.


It can't even be nothing, or I would not have had the temerity to ask in the first place.  And, one thing I don't have much of is temerity.  Unless temerity is some kind of fat, like cellulite.  Which it isn't.


Stumped, aren't you!  That's because you've been looking for the answer in all the wrong places.


Each of these products is manufactured, advertised and sold because some "corporate giant" discovered what consumers wanted and figured out how to get it to them – and how to make a buck doing it!  Your waistline, their bottom line.  This could be expressed in other, more amusing ways, I'm sure.


Of course, the "corporate giants" aren't going to do all the work for us consumers.  It is up to us, the "giant consumers," to figure out how to consume as much of this stuff that we want as we can.  And, how to pay for it.  In a word, "corporate giants" can't really do their job without our help.  And, from the looks of things, we've been pretty compliant helpers.  Except for maybe the Whey Protein Concentrate consumers; but they are still a niche market.  No economies of scale there.


This is why Microsoft, for instance, makes more money than, say, Brylcreem.  It also explains why we no longer have Corvairs, 45 rpm records or hula hoops.  But, that is only the economic side of the issue.  There is more.


Part of it is research.  You can't dream up something as innovative as double cream filling in a cookie just sitting in a giant corporate giant chair.  You have to be out there watching kids (and a few adults; not me, and maybe not you, either) carefully pull their cookies apart and eat the frosting first.  Bingo, the lights go on!


If these cookies had been made in Germany, the corporate giants there would try to figure out a way to keep that from happening; after all, a great deal of money was invested in making sure the creme had just the right mix of transfats and sugar to make it stick first to the cookie and then to your arteries.  The machinery to do this cost a fortune.  They could be excused had they put a bolt through the center of the biscuit and sat back to enjoy watching people eat the right way for a change.


But, Oreo's are a quintessentially American treat.  And, where others see only calories, American corporate giants see opportunities to slather on even more calories.  And, "we the people" line up to buy these delicious morsels to feed to ourselves and, more importantly, to our children.  You have to hand it to us – we are a big hearted people.  The rest of our anatomies are catching up fast.


Blue M&M's were actually voted on.  That was because it was too time consuming to watch people eat them; people spend hours arranging them into groups of like colors, or like groupings of various colors, or saving all the red ones till last or some other weird variation on this theme.  The good people at Mars just asked consumers what color they wanted their calories wrapped in and the consumers responded with alacrity.  (Alacrity is derived from a Latin word meaning "open mouths and open wallets.")  There is something to be said for the democratization of fattening snacks.  I wonder if the Whey Protein Concentrate people have tried this yet?


Not that it is going to be easy for them.  The Whey Protein Concentrate folks have a lot to overcome here.  What are they going to have people vote on?  What, pray tell, would they find to double in it?  "Twice the protein" just isn't going to entice people to stop licking the double creme off their cookies.


Which brings us to the real problem for the Whey Protein Concentrate manufacturers out there.  Most people do not seem to be very concerned about being "fat bound."  They are, however, very wary of becoming "muscle bound."  In the real world, this means that people feel unease if their shoulders are too big for airplane seats, but not if their midsections are.  Or, it means that it's OK to be too fat to bend over, but not OK to be too muscular to do so.  If that makes any sense to you, go have another bag of M&M's.  In fact, make them peanut M&M's.


Me?  I'm going to go lift some dumbbells.  Right after my Almond Joy mini.


You gotta love those corporate giants,

gene, the giant consumer king


PS  Seriously, though, don't be fooled.  It is NOT easy to build large muscles!  If it were, I'd have done it already.  And posted pictures on this blog.  You'll notice that there are no pictures.  I assure you that there are no plans for any pictures, either!


There is a slim chance that people can be persuaded to have a better diet before they have a heart attack.  There is a slightly better chance after their first heart attack.  But, their chances of ever getting so muscle laden that they lose mobility in any sense of the term are about the same as being hit by a meteor. 


Don't take my word for it.  Tom Venuto has built some pretty impressive muscles; he even has pictures on his blog.  Ask him if it was easy!  Ask him about being "muscle bound."  And, ask him what kinds of protein supplements he takes to get the job done.  His answers may surprise you.  Hint:  He does not sell any supplements.


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