In a capitalistic society, do companies have any societal obligations or is it just a balance sheet driven world? Let’s say a company is selling the absolute most un-healthy product you could imagine. Is there any obligation to society to not produce this product? What if you know you can sell millions of them and make your shareholders a boatload of money?
Can we have it both ways? Can we be about capitalism and social obligations?
This post could go in a million different directions but I want to focus on an article that I saw in the Boston Herald today. The article is on a company that we will call UnFriendly’s, UF for short.
UF has decided to produce a product called the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Burger Melt. It is described as an Angus burger between two grill cheese sandwiches…what?? Here is the nutritional info for this monstrosity:
- 1,500 Calories
- 97 grams of fat (38 saturated)
- 2090 mg of sodium
Now the FDA has a guideline of what the average diet should look like:
- 2,000 calories
- 65 grams of fat (20 saturated)
- 2,400 mg of sodium
As you can see, one of these grilled cheese/burger combos takes up almost all of the sodium for the day, 3/4 the calories and more than the recommended fat by almost 35 grams. Now don’t forget this is only 1 burger…you still have the rest of the day to eat. If you combine this with fries and one of their famous shakes, take a look at how this breaks down:
- 2710 calories
- 149 grams of fat (55 saturated)
- 3880 mg of sodium
This blows the FDA guidelines out of the water, again, this is only 1 meal!!!
So, now that we have talked about the product, lets take a minute to discuss the choices.
Do we have a choice on whether or not to eat this? Of course we do.
Should we have people telling us we can’t eat it? Of course not.
Should we have people warning us that this is crap and making the companies publish the nutritional info? No doubt.
The last question is this…should a company care about the people that it is producing this product for? There is no doubt there is market demand for this…that is why they produced it. Does that make it right?