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Conflicts of Interest in the Weight Loss Biz

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Proving again that Google News about “diet and weight loss” is an unending treasure trove of interesting and off-beat news tidbits, today I learned of a proposed business transaction of potential interest to the average Sparky. It interested me, but I am a business owner. It should interest you too. Well, maybe anyway. Bear with me…

So, what comes to mind when you think of Nestle? Well to be, the brand is synonymous with luxurious and oh-so-unSparky hot chocolate. For that matter, chocolate in general. I think of Nestle as a chocolatier, much in the same vein as Hershey. (And before I forget, any Sparkies with kids under the age of about 12 or 13, a visit to Hersheypark is simply essential – the quintessential American amusement park the way they were supposed to be, back in “the day”).

What comes to mind when you think of Jenny Craig? Depending on your biases and experience, either a weight loss system or dietary gimmickry, probably. Either way, weight loss and diet. Does it seem oxymoronic that Nestle owns Jenny Craig? Well, it’s true. Does it seem like an inherent conflict of interest for a chocolatier to be in the business of discouraging its clients from partaking, in well, chocolate?

To me this is akin to Nintendo owning Barnes and Noble (not true, but again, bear with me). Nintendo, the video game folks, would encourage the clients of its bookselling subsidiary to forsake video games to, well, read books? If Exxon owned the Schwinn Bicycle Company, its clients should leave their gas-guzzling cars at home and bike to work? See the point?

No matter what you think of Jenny Craig and companies/programs like that (Nutri-System comes to mind), it’s good that they may come not to be owned by Nestle, in my opinion. Jenny Craig can get back to work charging money for what we get for free here on Spark. Nestle can get to work on its core business of developing new clients for both Jenny Craig and for Spark, evilly if indirectly.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Phebess's comment reminded me (since it IS the season) of a particular street in my childhood neighborhood on Halloween. It was an awesome street for a salty-kinda-gal like myself, because everyone on this street gave away small bags of chips instead of candy at Halloween...except for one house. He told us he was a dentist, so he gave away candy, so we'd have to visit him again later!
    2447 days ago
    And meanwhile the apple orchard next to my dad's farm is going unharvested this year because the owner says it would cost more in labor to harvest the apples than he would get for selling thea apples themselves. Go figure.
    2448 days ago
    emoticon I learned something new today and in and fun way great blog
    2448 days ago
    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing...
    2449 days ago
    This also speaks VOLUMES as to why there is so much institutional hostility to low carb lifestyles of all kinds.

    There is no BIG money to be made in fresh meat.

    There is no BIG money to be made in fresh produce.

    There is no BIG money to be made in fresh dairy.

    Take the grains and sugars out of the grocery store and three quarters of the shelves become empty.

    Conflict of interest, Boss, conflict of interest. Big Pharma wants to develop pills to let you eat whatever carbage you like. Big Agribusiness wants to develop higher yielding GMO grains to sell to Big Food, to turn into more processed crap to put on the shelves. Only businesspeople who stand to lose money if we stop buying junk like Pringles and Hamburger Helper have a real stake in discrediting it.
    2449 days ago
    That was interesting. It is ironic that Jenny Craig is owned by Nestle, I was surprised to learn that Food giants like Frito Lay and Kellogs own many of the popular organic versions of their products. It is all about making money.
    2449 days ago
    Kind of along the lines of drs and dentists who give out candy to children - remember that? My mom always said the dentists especially were keeping themselves in business.
    2449 days ago
    I agree with king_slayer- smart business practice. Get the consumer one way or another. Oh, and perhaps they suggest a 'little chocolate in moderation'....and if they do then it all becomes clearer. But I agree- very smart business for them.
    2449 days ago
    It's all about diversification! I really wouldn't doubt if Nestle also holds a pharmaceutical company that sells diabetes medication and weight loss pills! Cover all of your bases, make every person a consumer of your goods, one way or another.

    Sounds like smart business to me!
    2449 days ago
    I didn't know that before.
    2449 days ago
    Gypsygoth is exactly right. If only more people would look at how few huge corporations own everything there would be an uprising. Even when good new brands start out they are bought out by the giants and changed. That's why we need to eat clean unprocessed foods. The whole country of origin labeling was a farce. Our beef said, "Product of USA, Canada or Mexico"-like they couldn't even pick one???
    2449 days ago
  • DALID414
    2449 days ago
    I remember Farfel the Dog singing "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestles makes the very best . . . chocolate." That's what Nestles bring to mind for me . . . chocolate. Surely not Jenny Craig or pet food. Chocolate business does not seem to go along with weight loss business!

    Wonders never cease! Personally, I agree with you. I'll stick with you on this site for FREE!
    2449 days ago
    "One pill makes you larger and the other makes you small." Nestle divesting Jenny Craig won't do anything at all. I'll stick with clean foods and consistent physical activity.
    2449 days ago
    The Jenny Craig corporate office is nearby my home. I remember when she actually owned it and then sold it. In the food documentaries I've watched, you'd be surprised at how many of the large companies own the supposedly "healthy" brands.
    2449 days ago
    Nestle is one of the largest food conglomerates in the world. They own water brands, TONS of stuff you'd never think of... I wouldn't be as concerned with the chocolate connection as with the terrifying lack of any kind of social conscience of companies like this who have grown "too big to fail" and also "too big to care."
    2449 days ago
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