When you walk into Hungry Jacks, or McDonalds, or Kentucky Fried Chicken (aka KFC), and order your Whopper Value Meal, Big Mac Value Meal, or Ultimate Burger Meal, what does 1430kj, 2590kj and 3800kj (approx.) mean to you? Probably not very much.
But, instead of esoteric energy counts, what if you were confronted with something more comprehensible, like 75 minutes of sprinting* (Medium Whopper Value Meal), or a 2 hour game of squash* (Large Big Mac Value Meal), or, perhaps 5 hours of fast swimming* (Ultimate Burger Meal)?
And to add a bit of Olympic spirit to it, maybe we could incorporate official sponsors into the information. So, official Corporate Partner of the Olympics, Coca-Cola, could advise customers that a can of their product equals the same amount of energy required to go for a sprint for 10 minutes*.
Would you think twice about buying all that food?
I think you would. But the best marketing doesn’t want you to think. They just want you to do, and not think too much at all.
A quick question: How many kilojoules have you consumed so far today? Even an estimate will do. Most of us wouldn’t have a clue.
Now try this one: how much exercise have you done today?
So, perhaps if the food industry “is committed to providing you with the information you need to make informed choices for yourself”, maybe they should trial this labelling system for a while.
Probably not likely. It might be a bit too informed.
* These are all estimates based on energy usage of a 35 year old, 180cm male, in the BMI range of 20 – 25.