Friday, July 24, 2015

Science versus Nature, The Dawning of a new era in food science, NATURE

It's been a long time coming, and the road to get where we are has been hard fought; but we aren't there yet. There, is the place where all processed foods are made with healthy natural ingredients. There, is an ideal, a concept, a wish, a dream. But, every week it seems that more and more big food companies bow to the pressure that consumers exert with their spending dollars and conform to that ideal of cleaner safer foods. For the last five years the largest growth in the food industry has been in organic foods. Double digit growth. In a few instances, triple digit. Sales amongst the traditional food processors has been stagnant, or in so many cases, declining. Big business can't survive when small industries show the giants that they can make big money by making clean products designed to encourage the growing mass of consumers that desire better foods for themselves and their families.

Last week, Campbell's Soups announced that they will stop adding MSG and artificial colors to their soups.
Earlier this year there have been a number of announcements to break the traditions of money over health.
Chipotle Restaurants announced they will not use any products that contain GMO ingredients
Kraft foods acquiesced to consumer pressure and announced the removal of all coal tar dies from Mac and Cheese products
Subway Restaurants announced they would remove Azodicarbonamide from all their breads
White Wave and Horizon Dairies agreed to remove carragenan from all their products
Panera Restaurants announced they will remove all artificial ingredients from their products
Papa John's and Taco Bell both announced the removal of all artificial ingredients including corn syrup
Chik-Fil-A will remove High Fructose Corn Syrup from the buns used for sandwiches.
And yes, even McDonald's has pledged to REDUCE the amount of antibiotics used in production of chickens, nothing else, but hey, it's a start
And finally, Nestle Corporation. Nestle is the largest food manufacturer in the world. They recently announced that they would remove the artificial colors in about 250 of their candies. Three years ago they stunned a very very very small part of the world with the announcement that was not carried by any major or minor media outlet, that they would no longer, er, well, encourage, the use of child slavery in the production of cacao in the country of Ivory Coast. Now again, Cote de Ivory only produces twenty percent of the chocolate for Nestle and so far they have not announced any plans to enforce the ban on child slavery anywhere else, but hey, it's a start.

All of these things have come about because of consumer demand. Some from actual petition drives with hundreds of thousands of people signing petitions to show these giant companies that a few cents difference in price to make a healthier product is where they will spend their food dollars. The rest are just big companies realizing that it's the right thing to do. And then there's Papa John, jumping on the bandwagon because his chain is in last place and maybe it will help. But for whatever reason, it's a start. 

Oh, and one of the biggest news items ever, the FDA has officially removed partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, from the GRAS list and all food manufacturers have until 2018 to remove them from all processed foods. Now that's something to celebrate. It took fifty years for the FDA to react, but it shows the food industry that some things do indeed, get done.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

MONEY! There's a sucker born every minute

Everyone wants money. It's the basis of life in the worldwide society. Everyone needs money to exist. And they need ever more and larger amounts of money to live better lifestyles. Working hard for your money is one way to get ahead, but there are ways to get more money and to let others do the hard work for you and you can reap the rewards of their labors. Professions like politicians, bankers, insurance sales, lawyers all make money off the work of others. Well, bankers also make mistakes then take money offered to them from the government for doing their jobs poorly. But that's all another story. What we want to look at are those that want money, and don't believe that the laws or plain civility apply to themselves. Those are the thieves in the world. And the con men. The Bernie Madoff complex. People that devise ever more complex ways in which they can make suckers believe that if they give them money, they will be repaid with huge dividends. There have been quite a few of these people like the guy whose name has been used as the defining nomenclature for the process, Charles Ponzi.

I have a friend back in Austin. She has been a great fan of these get rich quick schemes for some time now. Years. Every year, often with more frequency, she has a new scheme and attempts to get me to invest. No matter how much I try to explain how the pyramid works, she disputes me and tells me that there are other people  out there that have reaped riches beyond their wildest dreams. Well, yeah, there are a lot of people hired to do such things and even if not hired to say that, the whole pyramid only works if those at the top recruit people below them. They won't recruit unless they can see money coming out of the scheme to pay them for their investment. No payouts, why recruit, no recruits, the whole thing fails and the ring leader is stuck with only the money they bilked out of the very few first time investors.

Here's the problem though, there are a whole lot of people out there that understand how that works. And they are constantly on the prowl for new and ever more exotic and complex Ponzi pyramid schemes. If you get in first, if you're a fast talker and can sell, then you will reap the rewards that are promised. Here's how these schemes work.unilevel-commission-structure

If you start at the top at the beginning of a scheme, then you are in prime real estate. If you put in your 3k bucks and find three people that also invest 3k and each of them finds three, well you can see how the pyramid works. And if all you do is promise a 20% return, then that leaves a whole lot of money for the Bernie Manof wannabee running the scheme with a ton of money.unilevel-commission-structure

My friends newest scheme, Options Rider. This guy claims he has secret software that allows him to purchase options on monetary tradings in international money exchanges. These trades net him 88% return DAILY!!!!!!!!!!  Click here to go see the stuff (OPTIONS)  Honestly, these guys actually find people that give them money. Let me repeat that, they GIVE the creators of these schemes their own MONEY. GIVE!! If you are at the top, you might, again, might get some of it back. The rules for getting your money out of this scheme, and really most schemes, are incredibly unrealistic. Loss of up to 20% of earnings for withdrawal of not just what is claimed you earned on your investment, but also on your original investment as well. And the big one, none is guaranteed. The big disclaimer is that past performance is not an indication of what your investment will earn. So, you give them 3k, they invest 5% daily, and hope that you earn. If you do, and your money grows, you can't remove it unless you want to pay them a hefty chunk of change. And although the man claims to have been in business doing this for 5 years, the website is only a few months old. And the address of the company is non-existent.
People want money to work for them and earn them more than they can earn by working hard. That's why these schemes are so common and attract so many people. But think about it. If this guy in this scheme or most of the schemes out there, had a way to make that much money, why do they need your money to invest for you? They need you to recruit. If you do a great job for them, they reward you. If you don't, you get squat. My friend, she has gotten squat. But she is ever hopeful that the next one will be the real deal and make her a billionaire.