USDA unveiled a new food icon, MyPlate


American Culinary Federation National President Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, joined First Lady Michelle Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., MBA, yesterday at a press conference at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., as they unveiled the USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate, that will serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices.

The USDA’s intent of MyPlate, , is to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times and emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups. MyPlate will replace the MyPyramid image as the government’s primary food group symbol as an easy-to-understand visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

“We understand the need to help consumers eat a more healthy diet, and are already involved in the Chefs Move to School’s initiative to promote proper nutrition and fight the obesity epidemic. Eating healthy and providing nutritious, good-tasting options will continue to be a significant trend affecting the culinary industry, driven by consumer demand and government regulations. The MyPlate icon will help everyone see their food choices more clearly and, we hope, help them adjust their eating habits to ensure proper nutrition”, said Ty

Consumer culture expert and branding strategist, Adam Hanft, CEO of marketing firm, Hanft Projects doesn’t think that the new effort will impact consumer habits at all.

“This isn’t the first time a nutritional guide has been put out to pasture. After all, the USDA has been at this persuasion game – trying to get Americans to eat healthier – since 1894. Back in the 30s there were 12 food groups (not sure how useful that was during the Depression). Then it was cut to seven groups in the 40s. In 1956 it was skinnied down to four systems – milk, veggies/fruits, meats and bread.”

That endured till the pyramid was introduced in 1992.Of course, none of this matters:
¢ Everyone knows what to eat more of and what to eat less of. Educating people about food is like educating them about adultery.
¢ This is an example of bureaucrats wasting time and money – $2MM – on a futile effort. In a time when people are mocking government waste and inefficiency, the government isn’t doing itself any favors.
¢ This will be mocked from Leno to Letterman to Jon Stewart. Do the Nutritioncrats think that will get people to eat healthier?
¢ We know what works: incentives. Time and time again we’ve seen that there is a limit people will spend for stuff that’s not healthy.
¢ If the government really cared, it would stop subsidizing farmers who produce the high-fructose corn syrup that is a leading contributor to the obesity epidemic.
Don’t waste time fixing the pyramid and fix the pyramid scheme that enriches Big Ag at our expense.
Posted By Kristin 6/6/11