Food is now a battleground where marketing labels and misinformation are used to bully and demonize people about their eating choices, according to the author of a new book, Food Bullying: How to Avoid Buying B.S.
In the book, author Michele Payn reveals the $5.75 trillion secret that food marketers and celebrity spokespeople don't want consumers to know: many foods perceived as "the right food" are actually what she calls "bull speak" (or B.S.).
Payn will be one of the speakers during Colorado Farm Bureau's Annual Meeting Nov. 22 -24 at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel. The organization is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Payn is an award winning author and professional speaker whose work has appeared in USA Today, Food Insight, CNN, Food & Nutrition Magazine, NPR and other media outlets. Payn writes from a small farm in Indiana, where she also co-hosts the Food Bullying podcast.
She contends that positioning one food as superior to another lies at the heart of food bullying and profits those making false claims. More than 200,000 label claims on the 40,000 products found in an average grocery store lead to fear and confusion when shoppers are trying to choose the "right" food, she says.
Payn calls out the unfounded claims surrounding food fads. She challenges people to consider how the food bullying epidemic has made food an unnecessarily emotional topic, leading to the removal of choices from the marketplace. In her book, Payn seeks to empower readers to discern fact from fairy tale and identify their own social, ethical, environmental, and health standards to overcome food bullying.
She also lays out an easy six-step action plan to simplify eating choices, overcome fear of food, and save time at the grocery store. Payn helps readers decipher food label claims and exposes "the hidden world of farming" as well. The book is intended for families, dietitians and health/fitness professionals, with hopes of upending the way people think about food.
Armed with compelling stories, science, and a lifetime on the farm, Payn's goal is to give everyone permission to make eating choices based on their personal standards, not on groupthink.