Tony Abbott, known by some as the “Mad Monk” of Federal Parliament, has advocated the removal of soft drinks from household fridges, and a “McDonalds-style” campaign by the company (and possibly through Government funding) to promote healthy lifestyles.
What has gotten into that man’s head?
People should be free to drink whatever the hell they like – whether it be Coke, battery acid or a quiet shandy. Insofar as it cause a health problem, it’s not Coke that is the problem but people’s sedentary lifestyles. “Feed me, clothe me, entertain me in the shortest and most convenient possible way”. That people are increasingly fat isn’t the result of Coke consumption, but the result of increasingly lazy and inactive lifestyles mixed with a large percentage of their diet being high sugar, low quality foods.
Coke has been around for over 100 years, a magnificent product drunk the world over. That diabetes is an increasing health issue isn’t the fault or cause of this company’s products, but the lack of understanding of nutrition in the general populace.
What is Tony thinking? A demand management program funded by the supply side?
On one had he has a point: McDonalds has done EXTREMELY well to reposition themselves as a provider of “healthy choices”. A few years ago, there was some strong debate over whether Macca’s and other fast food companies should be banned from advertising during children’s TV and other times. Macca’s then decided: “what is fast food”? Is Macca’s “fast food” or is a Big Mac “fast food”? So they increased their sales of fresh fruit, vegetables, rolls, wraps, salads and cereals. Now they are the biggst supplier of salad in Australia. If anyone were to advocate banning McDonald’s advertising, it would result in some very tricky, very difficult theorising, let alone a mess of legislation.
Coca-Cola have gone down a similar path. They have purchased SPC, the famous Victorian Fruit company, and made a play at Berri a few years ago. They were also running their financial calculators over National Foods, maker of Pura Milk, Yoplait and Big M before it was taken over by San Miguel. They obviosuly understand the nature of diversification for business’ sake and also to diversify away from being a “sugar” company.
So where does this leave Abbott? Seemingly, trying to promote Coke. In a weird, touchy-feely, nice guy, “an apple a day will keep tertiary health costs down per day” sort of way. Abbott should be encouraging preventative, healthy lifestyles through a words and deeds, not legislation. With this sort of thinking, I’m not sure he’s actually on the right side of Parliament.
Coke should be doing one thing only. Making, promoting and selling it’s products as best it can, with the highest possible margins for the good of it’s shareholders. If they feel they should encourage helathy lifestyles as a PR, CSR style “nice guy” push, then fine. If Coke makes great profits, then the Government gets tax revenues, shareholders and consumers are happy, and Abbott should go jump – it’s good excercise.