WTF...Who to Trust About Food

This week I attended the Today's Dietitian Spring Symposium in Orlando. The keynote speaker was Dr. David Katz, Founding Director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, a key developer of the NuVal nutrition scoring system, and a rock star in the nutrition world.

Katz’s keynote address highlighted the nutritional confusion that confronts consumers on a  daily basis. 

"It’s not what we don’t know about diet that most threatens our health; it’s the constant misinterpretations of what we know." 

As you can see, Dr. Katz believes that the media bungles the message. Health headlines are often misleading and frequently too definitive—all carbs are bad, use as much butter as you’d like, avoid dairy.  Consumers want to make good nutritional choices, but they find themselves overwhelmed by misinformation. As Dr. Katz has previously written:

“[The] media have turned our diets into the weather—or a never-ending beauty pageant. They ‘feed’ us every exaggerated vicissitude they can find, and do all they can to obscure the far greater, underlying constancy."

This phenomenon has led Dr. Katz to create the acronym WTF to articulate this problem: What/Who to Trust about Food. 

Conveniently, the answer to that question can be found in the International Food Information Council’s annual Food & Healthy Survey, which was released just last week.  In the survey, 70% of consumers selected registered dietitians and nutritionists as the most trusted source for information about what to eat, while 65% also cited their personal healthcare professional as a trusted source of accurate information.  

The flood of information about food, health and nutrition is unlikely to abate in the near future. And the media is even more unlikely to alter the way it presents this information to consumers. As the marketer of a healthy brand, why not give the people what they want, and tap into the trusted sources they’ve identified to share information about your brand?

Educating dietitians, nutritionists and health professionals about your brand—and giving them the tools they need to share that information with consumers—can make your brand one that consumers can trust.