Health Claims – For the love of Money

Two somewhat related items caught my eye today:

FDA allows limited health claim for Splenda

and

Wrigley puts gum under health tests

Why do McNeil Nutritionals (maker of Splenda) and Wrigley want to be able to put health claims on their products?

Money of course. When Subway’s popular Jared campaign communicated the idea that eating submarine sandwiches could possibly help you lose weight, it was one of the variables that helped Subway see their sales rise from $3.6 billion in 1999 to $5.77 billion in 2002. Being seen as a healthy can have a tremendous pay-off.

Just ask the chocolate industry, which is getting a great deal of press over the questionable health benefits of chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my chocolate, and enjoy a good submarine sandwich every now and then. But these ain’t health foods, no matter how much companies would like to believe otherwise. And while there may be some dental benefits in Sucralose or the latest pack of Dentyne, it’s going to take more than that claim to make me feel as if these are “healthy” products.

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