Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

All this for a cookie

link Robert Arrowsmith


Earlier this week, 16 of the nation’s leading food and beverage companies reported they sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007, according to the findings of an independent evaluation funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

The companies, acting together as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), pledged to remove 1 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2012, and 1.5 trillion by 2015.

The evaluation found that, thus far, the companies have exceeded their 2015 pledge by more than 400 percent.

I had to laugh.

While the majority of the people would be impressed with that number, I had to laugh for the following reasons.

Turns out, 6.4 trillion fewer calories equals one less cookie for everyone.

According to a Gallup Survey, the obesity rate in this country actually went up during this time frame from 25.5 percent in 2008 to 26.1 percent in 2011.

Can you name one product on the shelf that did not reduce in size in your mind over the past seven years?

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) project ramped up in 2007, turning a number of farmers from food producers to energy producers, thereby reducing food production.

That year was the beginning of the Great Recession. Companies knew they could not raise prices as fast as they could because frankly people did not have money. Recession/Depression results in those without money ending up eating less.

So how does a company continue to build profit during a recession? You cannot raise prices, but have to answer to investors, so the only other way to increase profit margin is to drop quantity.

Being an economic mindset, acting together with HWCF was an easy way for shrewd businesses to justify themselves and continue to grow profit.

Now do not get me wrong. Increasing profit margin increases investor confidence and increases money in people’s pockets, which in turn stabilizes the economy.

With that being said, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the cost of food went up 13.3 percent from January 2008 to December 2012. There are multiple reasons for that, but needless to say we have been paying more for less.

So congratulations America, for 13.3 percent more money, you have eaten one less cookie.

I have warned for years to always try to understand numbers. Math is an art just as it is a science; it can be interpreted in many ways, and can be spun to fit whatever someone may want to use it for.

I hate spin.

Robert Arrowsmith is publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]

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