Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When you think Nestle you think chocolate not a gum for kidney patients. Imagine real advertising for a product that can be good for your health. Is it possible? Will the big companies put big advertising money behind such a product? Maybe Nestle is thinking about it. The Nestle company recently has acquired a U.K. based pharmaceutical company that is testing a chewing gum to help kidney-disease sufferers. The first move in the company’s effort to build a business selling food products that target diseases.
So, if you are a alcoholic ruining your kidneys due to excessive alcohol drinking, you can maybe someday buy a pack of gum to help your self-inflicted damaged kidneys. The deal Nestle has with the pharmaceutical company is likely the first of many Nestle wishes to have in Nestle Health Science, a subsidiary that also opened its doors recently. This past September, Nestle said it would create the Health Science subsidiary and invest $534 million over 10 years.
Food companies-led by Nestle have been scrambling to take a lead in making foods that address diseases such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes. While the area is considered promising, both from the medical and business standpoints, overblown health claims made by food companies in the past has draw criticism from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. And some corners of the medical community.
Some doctors worry that medical foods don’t face the same regulatory scrutiny or rigorous testing as pharmaceutical drugs. They warn that food companies have a bad track record of trumping up health claims on products to gain a marketing edge. Far too many holistic or health food remedies do not get the same advertising clout as the big food or drug companies have. All over TV are expensive commercials for products to grow hair, or have greater sex or curb your depression from products that have such a long list of harmful possible side effects thst you don’t even remember the good part of the product.

Last July, for example, an FTC complaint led Nestle to drop a claim that its Boost Kid Essentials milk-shake drink protected children’s immune systems. “With many of these food companies, the claims of managing illness, preventing illness, boosting immunity, boosting immune function-all of those things- are very difficult to prove using the standards that the FDA or similar agencies would use to judge safety.” said Michael Starnbach, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Harvard Medical School.
We have to give some of this stuff a chance. We need more commercially advertised products that are actually good for us. Consumers will buy food as much for its health and medicinal benefits as its taste.

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