business news in context, analysis with attitude

In writing yesterday about a Texas school lunch program that is attempting to serve healthier foods, I noted that with such efforts comes the ability for supermarkets to insert themselves in the conversation, to both talk about and actually providing better and more nutritious food that tastes good.

Which led MNB user Alan Carter to write:

A point I've been stressing for years, getting food manufacturers, restaurants and supermarkets to take action is the challenge.  Freedom of choice combined with good tasting/bad for you foods in plentiful and affordable supply is the recipe for obesity and diabetes. The potential for decreasing profitable sales (quantity) and lower margins (on higher quality) make it difficult to execute programs from a business perspective.

The Kansas Diabetes Action Council is developing an education and intervention program that will reach all Kansans via community organizations, churches, schools, supermarkets, pharmacists, nurses and physicians.  Working with the CDC, the American Diabetes Association and committed Kansas volunteers we intend to meet the State crisis at ground level.  Without improving our diet and exercise the obesity and diabetes epidemic cannot be slowed, let alone stopped and reversed.  Protecting our children's future health is vital to long term business success but, creating the right mix of products and services may prove to be costly in the short term.

Keep beating the drum for change in the Food Industry, otherwise we'll reach "critical mass" with large consequences for both food and health businesses.

Have drum, will travel.

MNB user Jackie Lembke wrote:

I heard a presentation done by a chef in charge of dining at a large university. He called this “stealth” health, healthy attributes, like whole grains, less salt, sugar, whatever done in ways that aren’t as noticeable to the diners. He doesn’t tout the health aspects until the product is well received and occasionally requested, then he will explain the health benefits. Great concept especially for kids who can be reluctant to try new products.

A couple of kids were described in the story I read about the Texas program - one who liked the healthier food, and one who complained about it. And I joked that “I couldn’t help but feel that the more open-minded kid probably gets beat up a lot.”

One MNB user took exception to my characterization:

No – the kid who likes the new menu doesn’t get beat up a lot (usually) because he is smarter and can talk his way out of a fight and if he can’t do that he is more likely to be thinner and faster and can escape potential harm by leaving the discussion quicker than chubbier, hamburger – donut – breaded food – soda pop imbibing complainer (who probably doesn’t exercise either) can.

I think I hit a nerve. But I hope he’s right.

I continue to get email about Bob Dylan.

One MNB user wrote:

I agree with your correspondent who had attended a Dylan concert. A couple of years ago my wife and I decided to see Dylan in his seemingly annual concert in Telluride, CO. At 56 and 57 year old baby boomers we had never seen him and thought it would be neat to do so. It was the worst performance I've ever been to. The opening act was excellent, his band was awesome and the sound people had done great job as the sound was the best I'd ever heard in an outdoor venue. Then Dylan comes out, makes no eye contact, doesn't engage the crown of around 7000, sits and plays his songs and then gets up and leaves. He never said word one; I don't care for that as I like an artist to make a connection to the audience. There were some songs that for three or four seconds you could tell it was Dylan. Most of them could only be identified if you knew the tunes because the lyrics were impossible to understand. I wouldn't waste my time on a Dylan concert if it were free.

Years ago, after attending a gala thrown at a CIES Summit, I wrote a column meant to be witty in which I also complained about an opera singer who had entertained the audience without ever making eye contact, and I joked that I would have preferred Jimmy Buffett.

The singer, of course, was Andrea Bocelli...who is blind, but because I am an utter ignoramus about opera, I didn’t know that. I got roasted by dozens of MNB users who thought that I was a cretin.

I’d still rather go to a Dylan concert than another one by Bocelli ... which probably confirms the fact that I’m a cretin.

And another MNB user wrote:

I don't necessarily disagree with the other MNB reader who had a negative opinion of Dylan's present-day singing ability.  I've been to a decent number of Dylan concerts over the last decade or so, and it can be pretty hit or miss.  If you go to a Dylan show nowadays, you shouldn't expect to hear anything that resembles the 60s & 70s classics verbatim; if you do, you will be disappointed.

In my opinion, the fascinating thing about Dylan (besides the obvious legendary catalogue of material) is his never-ending drive to move forward and reinvent himself; hence my mention of the radio show (he IS a very good DJ) and the Christmas album.  These days, he seems to fancy himself to be  some sort of wondering West Texas swing / bluesman from a bygone era (or something like that) and his music reflects that.  But to your original point, the fact that he is out there somewhere performing practically every other night (when he obviously does not need to, financially) is impressive and should be celebrated.

So I say, go ahead and check the box...go to Dylan show when you get the chance.  Just approach it as if you are going to see a 70 year old music troubadour, not a 60s protest singer or rock icon, and you should enjoy yourself.

KC's View: