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Broccoli boosterism

(article, Culinate staff)

This week's issue of the New York Times Magazine is devoted to health issues — and the cover feature is all about broccoli.

Well, sort of. Written by Michael Moss (Salt Sugar Fat), the article is actually a summary of America's industrial-food system, from the dominance of corn as a commodity crop to the mass marketing of junk food to children to the economics that make fresh produce more expensive than frozen pizza.

There's humor here, too, in the form of a fake advertising campaign drawn from junk-food marketing:

bq. Thus was born the fictitious Broccoli Commission of America, whose slogans include: “Broccoli: Now 43 Percent Less Pretentious Than Kale” and “What Came First, Kale or the Bandwagon?” and “Eat Fad Free: Broccoli v. Kale.” Picking on kale — rather than on, say, French fries — was especially brilliant because it mimicked the Great Soda War between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, an entirely bloodless battle that greatly enhanced the bottom lines of both companies.

Of course, as Moss notes, telling people they should eat a certain food just because it's healthy isn't going to work. But if broccoli became cool? Sales might actually spike — as was demonstrated back in 2010, when a similar experimental ad campaign convinced Canadians to, yes, eat more broccoli.