You Knew It Was Coming

Okay, it is chicken week, so we need to revisit Jamie Oliver’s terrific experiment where he showed school kids just how chicken nuggets are made.  If you haven’t seen this, you have to watch this:

Note, how the person who put this clip up on youtube called titled it an “epic failure.”  So that’s question.  Why did Oliver fail?  Why didn’t the kids reject this food?  What does this tell us?  Why aren’t consumers disturbed by the industrial quality of our food suppluy?  Is it, as some have suggested, that they live at this point so far from the source of food that they can’t even imagine the origins of food?  I had a similar experience with my 12 year old son.  We watched Supersize Me together and all that he wanted to do afterwards was go to McDonald’s.  Really?  (Kind of freaked me out.)  Or is it that the food tastes good (to kids)?  (And remember, kids aren’t really thinking about price.)

And thinking here of Bittman, what would it take for kids (and others) to change their food habits?  Would talk of animal suffering do it?  What it Oliver had showed pictures of a chicken processing or kill plant to the students?  Would that have changed their view of the food?

Finally, think about the idea of we are what we eat?  What if, as Belasco says, we don’t even know what we eat?

Leave a comment


  1. While it obviously says a lot about food in America and what we tend to feed children, I think that part of the reaction of the kids has to do with the fact that as kids, their brains do not function as adults brains do. There are numerous scientific studies about this as and it is the foundation for our juvenile justice system. Also, they’re on TV and it’s bad TV for them not to eat it.

  2. Here’s another talk on this from a prominent food activists: “I think the kids still wanted them because they are so heavily marketed and the purpose of the marketing is to make kids think that nuggets are what kids are supposed to be eating—kids’ food. Kids aren’t supposed to eat what their boring parents eat. They are supposed to eat foods made just for them—nuggets, for example.”

    What do you think?

  3. The idea of marketing that kids should eat different food than their parents is intriguing. I think the marketing idea and the less-developed brains idea would work well together. If marketers have figured out how to connect with kids brains, maybe schools and the justice system should pay attention …


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