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Commentaries
Thought provoking commentary on
Business, Technology, Organizations, and Organizational Dynamics
to clarify my thinking and engage in intelligent conversation.
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2.10 Trying To Help While Still Selling Corn or
How Our Tools Channel Our Thinking

February 27, 2008

A recent article in the Washington Post

looks at a new "tool", FoodFlex, from Safeway that allows consumers access to the information collected by their discount card and provides some analysis tools for the foods purchased.
Safeway has "a very large emphasis on health and wellness and giving consumers more tools to make more choices," according Safeway Vice President Kevin Herglotz in the article.

The FoodFlex Tool Giving Simplistic Answers

A couple of things immediately "jump out".

First, here is a lot of personal information that Safeway is not only collecting and using for marketing purposes, but now it will be available on the web! The complete list of what you purchase at Safeway may not seem like a critical item but I am sure ne'er do wells will be able to a) get access to it and b) use it for less than desirable purposes.

An example of how the information could be miss used is simply to assist in "social engineering". If someone knows *exactly* what people have been buying/eating, it allows them to have "credentialed conversations" with the people.

Imagine striking up a conversation with someone who, interestingly, has the same eating habits and common sundry product habits as you. It makes the conversation more comfortable that the chances of sharing other information is much higher.

Second, the article covers an analysis of a meal being prepared. In the analysis, the FoodFlex program basically didn't care about the quality of foods, just the raw "nutrition" numbers that are being show to be about 10% of the picture.

For example, the silly program equated natural, whole foods like "walnuts" and "real crab" with genuine, imitation, industrial "alfredo sauce" which undoubtedly is very high in good old #2 corn with it's damaged LDL and very likely lots of transfats that cause heart disease.

Third, the author of the story was very concerned in selecting ricotta cheese: regular, low fat, no fat?
What she didn't investigate is how much "#2 corn", "dried milk" (which is evidence is showing may be a problem with damaged LDL), and random hormones (from the stressed and drugged cows) was in the cheese. Rather than looking for "real cheese", she got side tracked on the "fat vs non-fat" independent of quality of those fats.

Bottom Line: the Tool Helps Sell The High Margin "Industrial" Foods

Safeway is in the business of "making money selling food". If you think it is looking out for your best interest, it is... as long as it doesn't adversely impact the "bottom line".

I would suggest that the author of the article (and Safeway :-) read Pollan's book: "Omnivore's Dilemma" and Planc's "Real Food" for enlightenment


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Elucidate
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1   Clever, but not very Smart
  January 01, 1997
1.1   Mayberry Rules
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2   Random Elucidatons
  January 01, 1997
2.1   Stifle Free Speech
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2.2   Rewarding Accomplishing Goals
    February 17, 2013
2.3   Banana Slugs: The Law of Unintended Consequences: Protect and Lose
    August 02, 2009
2.4   Computer ate my Sbx Reward
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2.5   The End Of Innovation or How To Lie With Statistics?
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2.6   Lying With Statistics: CNN Article that Organic Food is Not "more nutritious'
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2.7   Everything Old is New Again
    June 28, 2011
2.8   Topical: just like Sub-Prime => Commodity Greed
    April 19, 2008
2.9   Tools: Spreading Knowledge That Can Hurt:
    April 14, 2008
2.10   Tools: Trying to Help While Still Selling Corn
    February 27, 2008
2.11   The Game is Rigged: Attacking with Speculative Analysis
    January 06, 2008
2.12   Getting your "Eyes On" to see ATV Damage
    November 26, 2007
2.13   US Forest Service - "Leave No Trace... or you will do Trail Maintenance with a Trowel!"
    October 13, 2007
2.14   Act Locally, Destroy Globally: Cultivate Disease Resistance
    March 04, 2007
2.15   Joisting with Self-Glorifying Windmills
    March 03, 2007
3   Analysis
  January 01, 1997
3.1   Analysis of Medical Insurance Discussion
    April 06, 2013
3.2   Degrees of Risk
    April 24, 2013
3.3   Qualifying Experts
    January 25, 2014
4   Finches: Urban Ones Smart??
  March 23, 2016
5   BBC - Propaganda
  June 10, 2016
6   BBC Propaganda, again
  June 15, 2016
7    Why did Agriculture Start 13,000 years ago
  June 23, 2016
8   Ice Core TimeLine Munge
  September 22, 2016
9   Ice Age Survival
  December 29, 2016
Carpe Diem: What you can envision, you can achieve!sm
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