Imagine my surprise when I saw headlines like this one while trying to eat breakfast today. I’ll give you one guess as to what yellow box of cereal was sitting in front of me, as it has nearly every weekday for the past decade or more.
General Mills has its share of explaining to do in the wake of the challenge by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has taken umbrage with the food company’s claim that Cheerios can lower cholestrol. The regulator says this sort of statement,which appears to suggest that a cereal can prevent heart disease, is reserved for FDA-approved drugs.
Semantics aside, this incident proves that companies are forced to walk an ever-finer line in the promotion of their products. In times of heavy competiton, even corporate giants such as General Mills are willing to take risks to ensure that a smaller company’s product doesn’t overtake their place at the breakfast table. While regional treats remain one of the great parts of American grocery shopping, there is increased awareness of products that previously stayed local. This means that even a small food manufacturer can have a “stretch plan” of one day appearing on supermarket shelves across the country. No wonder General Mills is willing to vaguely claim its product can prevent heart disease. The anxiety caused by the competition is enough to give it a heart attack!
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