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Health Advocated Complaints Over Taco Bell Ad Don't Address Primary Reasons For Obesity Epidemic

LOS ANGELES, February 6, 2013 () – Look, I’m all for healthy eating. I really am. As a Food & Beverage analyst, I know firsthand how much of an epidemic obesity has become worldwide. But I can’t help but be bothered over the uproar that Taco Bell has had to deal with regarding its Super Bowl ad touting its Tacos 12 pack.

In the ad, Taco Bell chastises people who bring vegetable platters to football game-day parties, with the narrator saying: “Veggies on game day is like punting on fourth and one — it's a cop out." It then touts its variety pack of tacos as a game-day tradition.

The ad triggered a Twitter campaign launched by the health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), saying that the commercial could discourage people from eating vegetables and asking veggie lovers to tweet their complaints to Taco Bell. Soon after, Taco Bell bowed to the pressure and pulled the ad.

And that irks me, for two reasons:

1) No one chooses between vegetables and tacos. You mean to tell me that a consumer will plan to buy a veggie platter for his football party, see the Taco Bell ad, and say to himself or herself: “You know, Taco Bell’s right. Veggie platters are a cop out. I’m buying tacos.” No! This ad isn’t going to convince people not to buy veggie trays. Vegetables and tacos are two completely different things.


2) Ads like Taco Bell’s are not the reason for the obesity epidemic in this world. One key reason is that veggie trays are more expensive than Taco Bell’s variety pack and other staple football-watching items. Go to your local supermarket and you’ll see it for yourself. You can buy chicken wings for $5. You can buy large frozen pizzas with several toppings for $6. The cost of a vegetable platter?


And that doesn’t include dip.

Tweet about that, CSPI.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc. He believes that if you want to stop the obesity epidemic in this country, one way to do so is to make healthier food just as cheap or cheaper than junk food. He can be reached at

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