Something to make you go hmmmmm.

In the middle of an article I was reading I found a tidbit I found very surprising.

JennyCraig is owned by Nestlé, and Weight Watchers is owned by the same company that owns Keebler Foods.

 WTF?

 So of course, I had to look into this – and it’s true.

 Weight Watchers is owned by Artal Group; a private international corporation that began by investing inBelgium’s sugar industry.  They own a large chunk of Weight Watchers, as well as Keebler and Sunshine Foods – the No. 2 and No. 3 cookie companies in theUnited States.  Hmmmm.

 In Europe, Artal Group also owns:

 * Poult/Dryon: Private label biscuit manufacturer based in France and Belgium.
* Pizza Hut Finance: A 50/50 joint venture with Pepsico, operating over 100 outlets.
* Dan Cake: Europe’s market leader in cakes, pastries, and swiss roles.
* Neuhaus: Belgian premium chocolates manufacturer with distribution entities in the USA, France, Spain, UK, Germany and Japan.

 JennyCraig is owned by Nestlé, which also owns Lean Cuisine!

 Talk about covering all bets. 

 Now, I know this is business as usual for large corporations, to diversify their investments; and since each subsidiary will have its own board and officers, there are probably no real conflicts of interest.    And I can’t say I’m surprised. 

But this feels like this is information people should know.  Like knowing who is funding anti-fat or pro-diet research. 

And it feels like hypocrisy that these diet companies are also in the “stuff you’re not supposed to eat when you’re on our diets” business.  Am I wrong?

As the ancient Chinese said in The Art of War

 So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

 And we all know, this is war; and the diet industry is the enemy (or at least one of them).

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7 thoughts on “Something to make you go hmmmmm.

  1. And Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever, which also makes Slimfast…& on it goes. I figure that if I never buy an ice cream made by a company owned by a corporation which also makes diet products, then I will have no choice but to make my own ice cream. This is big business. They do indeed cover all their bets.

    • And in my kitchen are Slimfast and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s chocolate ice cream. I’ll eat the ice cream, then follow it up with Slimfast …absurd yet it makes sense. ICompanies want us to eat fat so well buy their weight loss products. It’s a vicious circle.

  2. When Nabisco started up its SnackWell’s line in the 1990s, I didn’t think they were being hypocrites. It seemed like they were trying to give people what they want. Now? I dunno. It doesn’t really bother me, seeing as how these companies are guilty of much worse. Or, I should say, it doesn’t bother me more than the existence of diet foods in general.

    There’s a great story in Laura Fraser’s book Losing It, where she eats a SnackWell “brownie”, finds it delicious, then seconds later is sad because the food evaporated from her mouth. She ate more, trying to recapture the good feeling. That’s the evil beauty of this food; it’s tasty without being satisfying, so the consumer has to buy more. (Or, of course, he or she could buy non-diet food.)

  3. Kate Harding once wrote something like: when people starting letting themselves enjoy what they eat, they realize that most junk food tastes like ass.

    I think it is well-planned actually. Dieting makes forbidden foods more attractive. So, by supporting both, the company gets the consumer coming and going.

  4. I figure that if I never buy an ice cream made by a company owned by a corporation which also makes diet products, then I will have no choice but to make my own ice cream.

    Yikes! It must suck to not have any local independent ice cream options. We are so spoiled here in the Boston area that I forget it isn’t that way everywhere.

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