Nowadays the problem of nutrition is getting to be one of the most important in the contemporary world and involves practically all countries and companies operating in this segment of the market. The problem is to a significant extent caused not only by the lack of food that is typical for some developing and underdeveloped countries but also by the quality of food which is common for all countries, including such a powerful and rich ones as the USA.
In recent years, in addition to obesity caused by malnutrition, the US specialists revealed the great danger hidden in such a product as salt which is consumed by Americans daily and often in unlimited quantity. Not surprisingly that this problem provoked numerous discussions and involved mass media. In this respect, the article “The War Over Salt” is particularly noteworthy because it takes into consideration different positions of practically all participants of the conflict: companies, state institutions and agencies, scientists, and consumers. Moreover, this article not simply raises the problem but it reveals the potential threat hidden in the present situation when salt supply and demand remain unchanged.
In fact, the article clearly indicates at the fact that scientists emphasize that salt and salt consumption should be carefully regulated and controlled since often companies operating in such an open market economy as American one has to obey to its laws and provide supply of products in accordance with the market demand. In this respect, salt is often used to make the taste of food more appealing and, consequently, the product becomes more attractive for consumers.
In such a situation, the consumption of salt is getting to be unregulated and practically unlimited and as the article warns salt is still not on the list at the FDA while its danger is obvious for specialists and as statistics reveals such an unregulated consumption of salt may and actually leads to lethal outcome for numerous unnecessary deaths.
Furthermore, the situation is dramatically aggravated by the fact that customers often remain uninformed about the danger of salt and its over-consumption. Moreover, even if some customers are conscious of this threat they cannot really do anything about it because as a rule they are deprived of a possibility to get the full information about the ingredients of food they consume daily.
As a result, the problem remains and the situation is deteriorating but its solution is not found yet. In this respect, it is worthy to note that the article correctly refers to governmental institutions and agencies which actually should take care of people’s health and regulate technologies and products that are consumed daily by millions of Americans while in relation to salt it would hardly be exaggeration to estimate that this product willingly or not is consumed by all Americans practically without exception. In such a situation, the disturbance of specialists and journalists about the passiveness of federal agencies such as FDA, for instance, is not surprising.
Obviously, in order to solve this problem it is necessary to undertake certain steps but still it is necessary to realize that all parties involved should participate in the solution of this problem. To put it more precisely, the government and federal agencies cannot order people to consume salt or not as well as consumers cannot refuse immediately from the consumption of salts, especially in the situation when there is practically no alternatives to this essential product. As for food companies, they cannot stop use salts because it often makes their products tasty, better saleable, and finally, consumers get used to it and demand on salt and salt consisting products is extremely high. As a result, companies cannot and are not really willing to change the situation.
Obviously, to a significant extent such unwillingness is caused not only by high demand but also by the lack of stimuli whether positive or negative to refuse from salt use in such quantity. This is why it is primarily necessary to stimulate companies to reduce the use of salt in their products. Naturally this may be done in different ways from development of a taxation stimulating food companies to use lower amount of salt, to strict limitations of salt use in all products.
However, this won’t be efficient measure until customers remain uninformed about the danger of salt and still demand this product in amounts they get used. Consequently, it is necessary to develop programs, including educational ones, which would inform people about potential danger of unlimited consumption of salt.
Finally, it is hardly possible to believe that Americans as well as any other people in the world would totally refuse from salt or limit its consumption significantly. This is why, another essential measure to decrease salt consumption, and actually stop salt wars between food companies, scientists and government, is the development of new products that could substitute salt. In this respect, the examples of some companies mentioned in the article indicate at great perspectives of this measure since if it were employed earlier, nowadays the consumption of salt would be much lower while technologies for salt substitutes would be more advanced.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that the problem of salt consumption is really important and needs immediate solution and the recommendations mentioned above may be effective but only on the condition when supply and demand are based on the care about consumers’ health and brand image and not on the profit only.
Cotton PA, Subar AF, Friday JE, Cook A. “Dietary sources of nutrients among U.S. adults, 1994 to 1996.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 104:921-930, 2004.
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