Danimals: A Case Study in “Nutrient-Based” Marketing

Earlier this week, my post Experiencing Food v. Thinking Nutrients highlighted how “our instincts seem geared toward detecting sudden changes, while we miss the build up of truly life-threatening situations.”  This weakness is being regularly exploited by food manufacturers bent on making us believe that we eat for nutrients, rather than for the simple pleasures of eating.

This approach makes their job much easier, but creates major headaches and health issues for the rest of us, especially parents, who want to do what’s best for their children.  Much of this starts with making sure kids have the energy (food) to engage in all the joys of childhood, which is why Fooducate’s “Inside the Label – Liquid Yogurt Candy” post on Danimals drinkable yogurt is so disturbing.

Using pop star Hannah Montana to co-market the product (on a Disney web page), cartoon characters on the box, and promoting “LGG” – something I had never heard of before reading Fooducate’s post, Dannon marketing is hitting on all cylinders.  They go further in highlighting Danimals has no high fructose corn syrup, yet substitutes with three teaspoons of good old sugar. As Fooducate points out:

“The fact that Dannon emphasizes the absence of HFCS is another indicator of marketing to confused parents that suddenly think sugar is fine to consume. Both suagr and HFCS are bad in the quantities consumed by today’s youth.”

Dannon Shelf Dominance

Dannon Shelf Dominance

You can get an eye full of all of this on the official Danimal web page, including their claim: “Helping Kids Stay Healthy Everyday.”  You’ve got to be kidding me!  What’s worse?  Check out the visual breadth of Dannon products in the typical supermarket.

It seems the deck is stacked against us, but we have just begun to fight.  For example, my favorite part of Fooducate’s excellent and informative post, which follows the conclusion that Danimals could do a lot better, was the recommendation for using real foods to reproduce a truly health Danimals alternative at home:

“Here’s how to make a Danimal-like treat in 90 seconds:  place a cup of plain yogurt, half a cup of water, a few strawberries, and a spoonful of brown sugar into blender, and mix for 30 seconds. You’ll get all the benefits of Danimals plus real fruit, minus the extra sugar.”

I’ll drink (a drinkable yogurt) to that!


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One response to “Danimals: A Case Study in “Nutrient-Based” Marketing

  1. I saw a TV spot for this Dannon product the other day that made me cringe. By simultaneously educating parents and kids about food health and media literacy, we can shine some daylight on an otherwise artificially lit subject. I appreciate you tackling the issues here.

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