Monday Morning Mind-Blower

by Anne Bennett on November 8, 2010

The front page of the Sunday New York Times yesterday morning featured an article titled, “While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales.”

The story focused on last year’s poor sales of Domino’s Pizza, which was rated in surveys as among the worst tasting pizza in the country. That is, until an organization called Dairy Management helped Domino’s devise a new line of pizzas, called American Legends, that contains 40 percent more cheese. Dairy Management also backed a $12 million advertising campaign, an example of which is shown below, to boost Domino’s sales.

One slice of Domino's new pizza contains up to two-thirds of a day's recommended amount of saturated fat, and is brought to you by Dairy Management.

It worked. This year Domino’s is selling a lot of very cheesy pizza, thanks to Dairy Management. Who are these miracle workers? A for-profit marketing firm? A private business consultant? No. Dairy Management was created by the United States Department of Agriculture, the same federal agency that is purportedly fighting America’s obesity crisis.

The nonprofit, US government-funded corporation is engaged in a major effort to get Americans to eat more artery-clogging cheese–lots more–and they’re succeeding big time. Americans now eat three times more cheese than we did in 1970, about 33 pounds a year.  In fact, cheese has become the largest source of saturated fat in the American diet.

To give you a sense of how out-of-proportion this all is: the Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, which promotes healthy eating, has an annual budget of $6.5 million. Dairy Management’s budget, which mostly comes from a government mandated fee on the dairy industry, is $140 million.

Is your head spinning yet?

Guess who developed the successful “Got Milk?” campaign? None other than Dairy Management. Now that they’ve gotten Americans to drink more milk, they’ve turned their attention to cheese, hence the Domino’s connection.

Remember Michelle Obama’s highly publicized efforts to improve school lunches by decreasing the predominance of cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese?  Not if Dairy Management has anything to say about it. They are engaged in an all-out effort to get Americans to eat more cheese, in schools, restaurants, processed foods and home cooking.

In fact, they have coined a name for the Americans who would rather eat cheese than worry about adverse health risks. These people, the main target of their advertising efforts, are called, “cheese-snacking fanatics.”

Sounds like a typical Weight Watcher to me.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

amy November 8, 2010 at 8:37 am

I was shocked but not surprised by this article. Having said that ,there’s cheese and there’s cheese. THe French eat tons and tons of cheese every day twice a day with tons of bread and they are not obese..Americans eat processed cheese food which contains the word processed and is not a “food” by my definition. Having said that the French do not put cheese on everything nor do they eat veggies with cheese sauce..quel sacrilege! I don’t know the answers to this except buy more, real cheese. The stuff made in small batches by people in Wisconsin or California or Vermont…tastes better and it’s better for you..and really that’s the main thing right?

admin November 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Amy, I completely agree with you. Real cheese, in small amounts, enjoyed with a piece of great bread. That, along with a good glass of wine, is one of life’s pleasures.

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