Book Review: Stuffed by Hank Cardello
Honestly, I really don’t set out to write negative reviews. I love reading and love books and started this site so that I could share really great books that I discovered at work. Believe it or not, I am actually attempting to Sell my readers each of the books I write about, though I fear sometimes that my hesitance to come right out and ask you to buy at least an occasional one of your books from me, as a kind of appreciation for providing all of these book reviews and recommendations makes it unlikely most readers will do so. But all too often lately it seems that I get a recommendation from someone or some site or some publicist sends me a review copy and I have gone all the way through reading a long and not especially easy book and the best advice I have to offer is a frank “Save Your Money”. Small wonder I sell so few books this way.
Dorothy Parker is quoted as having said “This is not a book to be set aside lightly, it should be thrown with great force.” While she obviously was not referring to Hank Cardello’s Stuffed, it is certainly an apt expression. Cardello is a food industry executive who has worked for some of the top names in the business. He offers up Stuffed, he says, out of genuine concern over the ever growing world wide obesity epidemic. While he states that consumers, restauranteurs, and packaged food companies all share some responsibility and blame for the current crisis, Cardello is adamant that the packaged food companies must lead the way in solving the problem.
So far so good. But the fact is that Cardello is first, foremost and always a food industry shill, which seems to greatly limit his objectivity; he sees developments which to me are quite clearly evil and anti-consumer in the extreme as “win-win” for consumer and marketer alike. One particularly galling example of this is an elementary school where the principal was concerned about the growing obesity problem. Previously the school had had a total of two soft drink machines, there were now a total of fourteen machines installed, offering water, milk, juice and low calories beverages as well as the original soft drinks. Sales were way, Way, WAY up. And the “smart pricing” whereby water is $0.75, milk, juice and low calorie beverages $1.00 and soft drinks $1.25 was, Cardello claims, brilliant and effective. The best selling item? Water. For my entire 16 years of schooling water was always provided in the cold drinking fountains in the hallway, which of course were always free of charge. Cardello sees as a huge positive that soft drink companies are making huge profits from selling tap water to school children and their parents, many of whom can ill afford to be fattening Coca-Pepsi-Snapple-Cola’s bottom line, which in my humble and considered opinion makes the man nothing less than utterly and truly evil.
If anyone in the food industry wants to start thinking more intelligently about their customers’ nutrition and obesity issues, my advice would be to Burn This Book and then go read nutritionist Marian Nestle instead. Stuffed. Very Much NOT At All In Any Way Whatsoever recommended. DON’T BUY NOW $21.00