【阅读】考研英语经济学人文章读译 day 3 Food firms and fat-fighters
发布于 3年前 作者 一只绿色的🍋 1219 次浏览 来自 考研

Food firms and fat-fighters 食品公司与减肥斗士 Feb 9th 2006 From The Economist Global Agenda

Five leading food companies have introduced a labelling scheme for their products in the British market, in an attempt to assuage critics who say they encourage obesity. But consumer groups are unhappy all the same. Is the food industry, like tobacco before it, about to be *engulfed[1] by a wave of lawsuits brought on health grounds? 五家业内领先的食品公司采取了一项方案,就是在其投入英国市场的食品上作出标注,力图堵住那些说他们鼓励肥胖的批评人士的嘴。不过,消费者团体仍然不开心。食品业会像之前的烟草一样,被卷入一场关乎健康的诉讼之中吗?

KEEPING fit requires a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. On the second of these at least, the world’s food companies can claim to be setting a good example: they have been working up quite a sweat in their attempts to fend off assaults by governments, consumer groups and lawyers who accuse them of peddling products that encourage obesity. This week saw the unveiling of another industry initiative: five leading food producers—Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé, Kraft and PepsiCo—introduced a labelling scheme for the British market which will show “guideline daily amounts” for calories, fats, sugar and salt on packaging. The new labels will start to appear on the firms’ crisps, chocolate bars, cheese slices *and the like[2] over the next few months. A number of other food giants, such as Cadbury Schweppes and Masterfoods, have already started putting guideline labels on their products. 将健康的饮食习惯和经常性的锻炼二者结合才可以让身体保持健康。至少就第二点而言,全球的食品公司可以说是树立了一个很好的典范:为了避开政府、消费者团体以及律师们的抨击——指责食品公司四处兜售促进肥胖的产品,他们已经累得大汗淋漓了。本周,食品业的另一举措也公诸于世:五家业内领先的食品厂商——Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé, Kraft以及PepsiCo——在英国市场实施了一项商品标注计划,即在包装上标明卡路里(热量)、脂肪、糖和盐的“每日摄入量指南”。在接下来的几个月里,这些食品公司的土豆条、巧克力棒、干酪片等等包装上将开始出现这类新标注。其它许多食品业巨头如Cadbury Schweppes 和Masterfoods也已经着手在其产品上加入指导性标记。

The food companies say doing this will empower consumers, allowing them to make informed decisions about which foods are healthy. (1)But consumer groups have cried foul. They point out that the Food Standards Agency, a government watchdog, is due to recommend a different type of labelling scheme next month: a “traffic light” system using colours to tell consumers whether products have low, medium or high levels of fat, salt and the like. The food firms, they say, have rushed to introduce their own, fuzzier guidelines first in a cynical attempt to undermine the government’s plan—which they fear might hurt their sales. In consumer tests, the traffic light performed better than rival labelling schemes. 这些食品公司说,这么做可以让消费者在确定何种食品为健康食品时心知肚明。但是消费者团体大声疾呼食品公司此举纯属犯规,他们指出,作为政府监督机构,食品标准局应该在下个月推出一项不同的标注措施——“红绿灯”方法,亦即应用不同颜色,提醒消费者食品的脂肪、糖、盐分等含量是低、中等还是高。他们说,食品公司突然率先采用他们自定的那些模糊指南,是对政府计划的恣意破坏,他们害怕政府的计划会让他们的产品卖不出去。对消费者进行调查后显示,“红绿灯”方法比食品公司的标注方案效果要好。

Nevertheless, the food companies argue that the traffic-light system is too simplistic and likely to scare people away from certain products that are fine if consumed in moderation, or in conjunction with plenty of exercise—which most observers, including the medical profession, agree is crucial for anyone wanting to stay in shape. They also point out that they have competitors to worry about—namely the big supermarket chains with their own-label products. Last April, Tesco, the biggest of these, announced that it was rejecting the traffic-light system in favour of a less stark “signposting” approach. Its rivals fear that adopting colour-coding could put them at a competitive disadvantage. 然而,食品公司辩称,“红绿灯”方法过于简单,某些产品会因此吓跑消费者,而这些产品如果食用适量或者结合充分锻炼,对人都是十分有益的,而且包括医学专家在内的大多数观察人士都认为,这些食品对于任何想要保持好体形的人而言都至关重要。同时,他们还指出,他们要顾及一些竞争者,也就是那些对产品加上各自标注的大型超市连锁店的做法。去年四月,最大一家超市连锁店Tesco宣布,他们反对采用“红绿灯”方法,取而代之的是一种更为灵活的“路标”法。因此,食品公司担心,若采用颜色编码(也就是红绿灯法),会令他们在竞争中处于劣势。

Better labelling has become an important weapon of the food giants’ armoury as they fight back against their critics. In October 2005 McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast-food company, said it would start printing nutritional facts on the packaging of its burgers and fries, including the fat, salt, calorie and carbohydrate content. Before that, information about (2)big-sellers such as the Big Mac, which contains 30g of fat, could only be found on the firm’s website or in leaflets. 在食品业巨头们回击批评意见的过程中,更好的标注方式已经成为他们“武器库”中的一个“杀手锏”。2005年10月1日,世界最大快餐公司麦当劳称,公司将在汉堡包和炸薯条包装上印上营养常识,包括脂肪、盐分、热量以及碳水化合物含量。此前,人们只能从食品公司的网站或宣传品上看到一些销路好的食品有关信息,比如含有30克脂肪的Big Mac。

But labelling is not enough; the food firms know they must also offer healthier fare. McDonald’s has introduced salads and fruit to its menus. Kraft and others have brought out low-carbohydrate ranges. Last year, McDonald’s even announced a sporty makeover for Ronald McDonald, its mascot clown, in a bid to encourage children to be more active. But some in the industry suspect that consumers are keener on seeing (3)lighter, healthier meals on the menu than they are on actually buying and eating them; such products are not what the industry calls “(4)business builders”. That said, some of Nestlé’s more nutritional products, like its PowerBar range for athletes, enjoy higher margins and growth than its traditional fare. 不过,标注还不够;食品公司清楚,他们还必须生产出更加健康的食品。麦当劳公司已将沙拉和水果引入了它的点餐单之中,Kraft跟其它公司也制造出了一系列低碳水化合物食品。去年,麦当劳甚至还宣布要对它的小丑吉祥物——麦当劳叔叔进行翻新改造,使其具有运动型外表,以鼓励孩子们更为活泼。但是某些业内人士对此提出质疑,认为消费者更渴望在点餐单上看到不加色素、比较健康的膳食,而不会真地去买来吃;这类食品并非是产业中所谓的“商业增洁剂”。这么说来,雀巢公司生产的某些更富营养的食品,比如运动员专用的PowerBar系列,要比其传统食品能带来更高的利润及增长。

Wobbling all over the world 全球食品业正经受震荡 The pressure on the industry is most acute in America, which leads the world in obesity. The proportion of Americans characterised as overweight has risen steadily from 47% ((5)bad enough in itself) in the late 1970s to around two-thirds, including over 30% who are clinically obese. Fast-food chains’ American sales grew from about $6 billion in 1970 to an estimated $134 billion in 2005. Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation”, an influential book attacking the industry, has pointed out that Americans spend more on fast food than they do on higher education, PCs or new cars—worrying, when a single meal at a KFC of less than a pound-weight of food plus a large Pepsi can top 1,600 calories, not far short of the daily intake recommended by the government for adults doing only “light physical activity”. 肥胖人数居世界首位的美国食品业承受的压力最大。上世纪70年代末期,美国人中超重人口所占比例从47%(这个数字本身已经糟糕透了)逐步增长到大约三分之二,其中包括30%以上临床肥胖症患者,而美国快餐连锁店的销售额则从1970年的60亿美元增加到2005年的大约1340亿美元。旨在抨击快餐业、颇具影响力的《快餐国度》一书作者埃里克•施罗瑟曾指出,美国人吃快餐花的钱要比花在高等教育、个人电脑或者买新汽车上的钱多。令他感到担忧的是,在肯德基快餐店光吃一顿不到一磅重的餐点,再喝一大杯百事可乐,摄入热量就可能超过1600卡路里,这比美国政府为仅从事“轻度体力活动”的成人所推荐的每日摄取量并不低多少。(言下之意,一餐就摄取如此多热量,况乎一日三餐?)

(6)Where the United States leads, others are following. In the European Union, up to 27% of men are considered to be obese, and almost a quarter of all children are deemed overweight. Britain, with its love of burgers and packaged meals, is seen as following closest on America’s heels, but the rate of obesity has started to swell on the continent too. Some 11% of the adult population of France were obese in 2003, up from 8% in 1997 (the actual level may be higher still since the figures are based on polls asking people if they are fat, and (7)self-reporting produces underestimates). France has *latched on to[3] the fast-food culture: it is one of the biggest and most profitable European markets for McDonald’s. 凡是有美国带头的地方,别国都会亦步亦趋。在欧盟国家,高达27%的男性被认为患有肥胖症,几乎四分之一的儿童则被认为体重超常。爱吃汉堡包和打包食物的英国被看作是跟美国最贴近的“跟屁虫”,不过其“肥胖队伍”同样开始日益壮大。在法国,成人患肥胖症的比率从1997年的8%一下子增加到2003年的11%(由于统计数主要基于问卷调查,因此实际水平可能更高——自己说自己的情况往往导致低估实际水平嘛)。法国已经领悟了快餐文化的真谛:它就是麦当劳公司在欧洲最大、最赚钱的市场之一。

No wonder, then, that the past few years have been bad for food companies (8)in image terms—and terrible for the fast-food lot. Attacks on the industry have changed the psychological climate in which it operates, and they may yet change the legislative climate too. So far, lawsuits brought on health-and-safety grounds have been more of a warning than a general threat. In 2003 a New York judge dismissed a lawsuit claiming that McDonald’s had misled customers into believing that its food was healthy (though the suit was later partially reinstated). A number of American states have passed “common-sense consumption laws” aimed at deterring obesity cases in local courts. 那么,过去这几年食品公司的日子不太好过,而快餐业就更加糟糕。对食品业的抨击,已经带来了人们消费心理上的变化,或许也还将改变立法。迄今为止,基于健康安全的诉讼更多的是一种警醒,而没有对食品业形成真正的威胁。2003年,纽约一名