July 31, 2006 | Graham

Sumo targets “Big Muck”

Cancer NSW recently complained that there was too much advertising for unhealthy food on Australian TV, as I discussed in my previous post. The balance is about to be redressed, at least partially. A new company called SumoSalad is to mount an advertising blitz against fast food (but not on TV).

In early August, a new SumoSalad advertising campaign tackling leading US fast-food giants will hit the streets in Sydney, and it’s bound to create a bit of a stir. Forming the campaign are three different bus and print ads featuring the various tongue in cheek slogans; Big Muck, K F Seizure and Jabba the Hut

(For more details contact their PR representative Susan Wood at Magnum PR in Sydney).
I admire their style. For a while I was struck with the idea of opening a chain of restaurants called “Fleet Food” after having striven without success when travelling to find commercial food that “picked me up, didn’t weigh me down.” Thought a winged Hermes foot would have been a good logo.
Alas, when it comes to comparing SumoSalads and conventional fast foods, I doubt whether it will take the majority of the market by storm. Sumo provide nutrional details about their salads, and they are anything but Sumo. Take the Spicy BBQ Prawn Salad. For $8.45 I can buy 489.4 kjs of energy. That’s about one-seventeenth of my daily calorific requirements. If I got all my calories from SumoSalads, it would cost me about $145 per day just to survive. Even in Sydney, that’s a lot of money.
All of which reminds me of something that my partner says, having seen real hunger in Africa – “I think it’s wonderful that MacDonald’s manages to get that much energy, that cheaply into a package that tastes that good.” Putting aside the last claim, she could be on to something.
I think I’m also on to something. Cancer NSW has now put their study up on their website. I’m going to do another blog post on it. The study may be honest, in as much as it adheres to its parameters, but the media release, and indeed some of the methodologies, are more skewed than the practices it criticises in the food industry. But that is for another post.

Posted by Graham at 7:49 pm | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Health


  1. Graham,
    I note your response in your other column.
    I would hate to see the ridiculous lengths officialdom in the UK is prepared to go to bully kids being replicated here in Australia. Kids at age 4 and 10 are being lined up prodded and poked by health inspectors and demonised in front of their peers, its disgusting. Talk about picking on the fat kids. This is state sanctioned harassment. And the health zealots here in Australia are just lining up to jump on to this politically correct form of psychological abuse.
    Here’s a very simple fact EVERY parent knows and one which most so called ‘experts’ are not prepared to share – There is no such thing as a healthy weight for anyone let alone a child.
    If there is can you please inform me? This is about those with authoritarian impulses in society looking for another angle to pry into the intimate and private world of family life. The better questions to ask are those which demand to know why are officials and the ruling elites so preoccupied with the mundane aspects of family life, like getting your kids to ritually eat 2 pieces of fruit and 5 veg. Could it be they have lost the plot altogether? Haven’t they got an economy to run? A health care system to run down? An education service to balls up? And useless military adventures to pursue?
    A better question to ask also, is why are kids less active? It’s not because computer games have improved so much or that kids a lazier than before. Its because of the fear of the outside world which grips many parents and they feed their anxiety on to their kids. Despite the fact roads and personal safety on the streets are as safe now if not safer than at anytime in history. The culture of fear preys on increasingly anxious parents; the fear of fat is just one more additive to the dangerous mix. The crusade against child obesity is likely to produce, not healthy outcomes, but miserable children and anxious parents and epidemics of dieting and eating disorders.
    Read any decent study and you will see we are all leading healthier, wealthier and longer lives, despite the endless drone over the last 50 years of doom-mongers carping on about the next generation in greater peril than the last.
    Junk food is not the problem, but junk science which is used to dress up good old fashioned snobbery and bigotry. Which is fuelling a big fat weight loss and pharmaceutical industry based on the irrational fear of fat. It is the fear of fat, and encroaching authoritarianism, which we should be aware of. Not busy hardworking mums and dads who (heaven forbid) cant be stuffed making dinner now and again for their kids.
    Recommended reading for anyone who is serious about fat and the fat lies on fat, The Diet Myth – Why Our Obsession with Health is Hazardous to Our Health by Paul Campos.
    To the health-taliban, hands of our kids with your psuedo morality, and judge another’s parenting skills by your own yardstick.

    Comment by Dom McCarthy — August 1, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

  2. Dom,
    I do think governments have a legimitate interest in the health of their community but I am concerned about the propensity for food fascism and faddishness. Certainly there’s a lot of junk science around, which will be the topic of the next blog on this issue.
    BTW, if you search this blog you’ll find I’ve written about a number of the issues that you raise, including a culture of fear and a lack of exercise.

    Comment by Graham Young — August 1, 2006 @ 4:10 pm

  3. Cheers Graham,
    I’ll have a scan other posts through when I get the chance.
    Government interest in public health has a been major advance in society I do not doubt. Disease control, sanitation,clean water provison hospitals etc etc all great stuff. I think public time and money is better spent getting those things right. Not pursuing individual food choices i.e. human freedom to do the most basic thing in life, eat what one wants, drink what one wants whenever one, provide for one’s family as one sees fit etc.
    If we can’t be trusted to do the basics on our own, how the hell are we able to choose who should govern us or what jobs are worthwhile doing, or what constitutes an education? If people make mistakes along the way, so be it, isnt that how we learn and become responsible? A mere side effect of freedom, I fear those who wish an end to our free choice or assume there are lower forms of humanity who are automata programmed by adverts, more so than a family with podgy kids anyday!

    Comment by Dom McCarthy — August 2, 2006 @ 9:49 am

  4. I’m in all in favour of people choosing to eat what they want to eat. I’m also in favour of them getting the right information about food. That means better labelling, better education, and fewer scare campaigns.

    Comment by Graham Young — August 2, 2006 @ 10:41 am

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