Huge Multinational Food Companies Are Banking off Poor Countries

Food companies in industrial countries are registering almost no economic growth anymore. That’s why manufacturers are focusing on new markets. [Online until: 11.10.2018]

Multinationals are making big profits in threshold nations and developing countries – . This film uses São Paulo and Kenya as two examples to demonstrate how big companies are making money at the expense of people’s health. They promise healthy branded quality for everyone, but what they mainly sell are convenience products containing lots of salt, sugar and flavor enhancers, leading to growing obesity and diseases such as diabetes in societies that are already burdened by poverty and malnutrition. For many people in threshold nations and developing countries, convenience foods made in Europe are a status symbol, so multinational corporations In Brazil and Kenya are cashing in on this image by targeting the poor with their advertising campaigns. So-called PPP or “Popularly Positioned Products” – brand-name products in small packages – are sold for just a few cents. Women from the slums are trained to distribute the products in their private social circles. These jobs are highly sought-after and there’s no shortage of women, most of them unskilled, who are very keen to work for international food companies. The companies like to show themselves taking social responsibility in areas where the state does not. Kenya has a population of around forty-five million. Nineteen million are poor. Almost half the population lives on less than two euros a day. Brazil has a population of two hundred million: around forty-two million are poor. In recent years, increasing numbers have climbed to the lowest rung of the middle class. But this group has health problems: rates of obesity and diabetes are rapidly increasing. Critics like Dr. Carlos Monteiro, Professor of Nutrition and Health at the University of São Paulo, say that’s a total contradiction: the companies are distributing unhealthy products en masse to the people while at the same time presenting themselves as benefactors: “Greenwashing” at the expense of the poorest in society.

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