The Fast-Food Industry and Trans Fat: Fad or Legitimate Concern for Society?

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  • Topic: Trans fat, Nutrition, Food
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Principles of Management

The Fast-Food Industry and Trans Fat: Fad or Legitimate Concern for Society?

Submitted by Group 4:

Submitted on: January 23rd 2011
This case study discusses the popularity of food fads and the growing concept of providing customers with healthier food choices by banning Trans Fat foods in restaurants. Trans Fats are processed altered oils that include hydrogenated products which businesses use to extend a product’s shelf life. Such fats can clog arteries and be very harmful to one’s health when consumed on a daily basis. This analysis will describe the causes of why this Trans Fat free notion has been on the rise and how such an implementation can create challenging obstacles for corporations from a managerial standpoint. √ SYMPTOMS AND EVALUATION OF KEY FACTORS

Trans Fats (hydrogenated oils) reduce body’s ability to regulate cholesterol thus making it very harmful to health.√ •Corporations in food business use Trans Fats as they are cheaper than other healthier oils. They try to maximize profits by either using them or by transferring the higher costs to the consumers.√ • launched the national and international Trans Fats campaign by suing Kraft in 2003 to eliminate Trans Fats from Oreo cookies. As an outcome of this case Kraft eliminated Trans Fats from 650 of its products. Domino effect of this cases’ publicity led to public awareness and led FDA to introduce Trans Fats labelling on food items.√ • also led to a class action against McDonalds who mislead its customers into believing that it had switched to lower Trans Fats cooking oil.√ •NPD a global market research company which provides consumer behaviour and point of sale information across industry believes that tastes rules and fads pass.√ •Tiburon, California, “America’s First Trans Fat-Free City,” Many other cities followed them and now use Trans fat free oil for cooking.√

Corporations in food business are pushed to ban Trans Fats in the products they sell to customers in the interest of public health. This makes the position of managers tough as maximizing profits becomes difficult if they implement such a prohibition. √ ANALYSIS OR CAUSES OF PROBLEM

Food fads are everywhere, promoting such things like certified organic, high in Omega 3, zero Trans Fats, low sodium, caffeine free, etc. So some industry observers are thinking that Transitioning into zero Trans Fats way of cooking could potentially be another passing fad. They say these fads come in rather violently, stay for a while and then pass on leaving behind a marketing mess and a big hole in the budget. So should they be switching over their practices if this is another fad that could potentially die down in few days?√ •The fact that restaurants and customers confirm that switching to Trans fat free oil is not difficult to do and that the taste of the food does not change contributes to the growing popularity of banning Trans Fat foods.√

Stakeholders include groups in the external environment that has great influence on way corporations run their businesses. If majority of customers want more Trans Fat free foods, corporations may be forced to provide such options or risk loss of business. External groups can affect a manager’s process in planning, organizing, leading and controlling the direction of the organization.√ •FDA- Food and Drug association is the external agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. FDA is responsible for protecting the public health. In January 2006, the FDA started requiring that Trans Fat content be included on the nutrition facts label of all foods. Now it requires the amount of Trans Fat serving be listed on a separate line under saturated fats on the Nutrition Facts panel. But then again they say if total fat in food is less than 0.5 grams per serving...
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