Unhealthy eating habits are the bane of our healthcare system's existence. In epidemic proportions, people who have ignored healthy living advice are eating themselves into heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Mainstream food manufacturers have been generally slow to take on truly healthful change. Unhealthy eating is still the status quo and one of the main health disruptors of our society. Disruption of the status quo is essential to help reduce the incidences of preventable disease in our society.
Who Is Paying Attention?
Prior to the advent of the internet, individuals mainly got their health information through the friends and family close to them. Now with convenient access to all kinds of health information, healthcare consumers can readily get facts about the diseases that largely come from unhealthy eating. What people tend to pay attention to most is health information after they have been diagnosed with a diagnosis that disturbs them such as heart disease, but not heeding preventative healthy lifestyle information that abounds on the internet. What is needed is a change from the standard way of thought to get healthy lifestyle messages across.
Fortunately, there are some individuals, companies, and non-profit organizations that are heartily taking on disrupting the status quo of unhealthy eating. They are doing this by having a unique message angle that they get across through social media and related online information outlets. Here are three examples of disruption of the status quo.
Bill Frist, M.D., has noted that there is a tremendous lack of food literacy that keeps the unhealthy eating status quo going. He has stated that the lack of awareness of how much sugar is in our diets can lead to over consumption of it, encouraging large amounts of individuals with cardiovascular disease. Even if you think that your energy bar is healthy, it may have too much sugar built into its manufacturing. Frist challenges even people who think they are healthy eaters to examine the amount of added sugar that they and their children consume. He states that the culture at large needs to make a move to think of food as medicine. When people regularly ask themselves what a certain food choice will do for their health, then the literacy movement will have begun.
Dream and Disrupt
Voted as a Top 50 Disruptor by CNBC in 2014 and 2015, Hampton Creek dares to dream and disrupt. They ask What if we could start over? This innovative start up food product company dared to dream of making food healthier and less animal based. They continually research healthier alternative ingredients to make its ever growing assortment of food products such as Just Mayo. Their products satisfy with less sugar, cholesterol, and sodium than their rivals. They have a hand in starting and successfully continuing a revolution in healthy eating that focuses on taste and sensible price points to attract customers. As a result, their products have broad appeal and are not just sought out by niche markets of only vegetarians or gluten free consumers. Hampton Creek's healthy disruption has made an impact on social media sites YouTube and Instagram as well. Attractive visuals and a unique time lapse photography method for the recipes they share are a catchy favorite for people that want to make something good to eat but are strapped for time.
Change the Narrative
What if the prevalent consumer culture looked at fruits and vegetables as a product to be chosen like a pair of shoes or a cardigan? Better yet, what if a favorite celebrity was endorsing a particular fruit or vegetable; would it make you want to eat it? If you were offered an opportunity to sign an endorsement deal with Fruits and Vegetables, would you do it? This is the premise behind the quirky movement started by the Partnership for a Healthy America called FNV. FNV's website is bright and punchy, offering a tongue in cheek look at how fruits and vegetables could be viewed. As a result, the narrative framework about food choices is shifted. In the products section, vegetables such as beets, carrots, and tomatoes are featured with optional color choices if available, and product descriptions share some brief specifics about them.
By becoming food literate, supporting food movements that dare to dream of something different, and changing the narrative of how food is thought about, true disruption of the status quo is starting to begin. Disruption can be a gateway for a new and healthier way of living.