Organic candy for the soul

Campaigns to get Americans to eat better are the surge of the food wars. Marketers will seize on any tiny sign of progress as huge news, and the media will chime right in while people just get fatter and more diabetic. Take Hannaford Brothers’ test of a star system for supermarket food, which it just proclaimed a huge success after a year. The billboard in the NYTimes read: “Sales jump for many foods that get a ‘healthy’ rating.” But the story said the biggest increase was all of 7 percent, for lean ground beef; the other “jumps” were 1 to 5 percent. That strikes me as being as statistically significant as the Chimp’s approval rating. After googling Hannaford to see how many other news outlets swallowed the press release, I’m starting to wonder about that chain. Not only is it trying to persuade shoppers to avoid good whole milk, but a 65-year-old woman was not allowed to buy wine in Maine because she did not have her driver’s license on her. Chain policy is to card anyone who looks under 45. Which, if I’m doing my math right, is more than double the drinking age in any state. See what happens when a grocer turns nutrition nanny? Grandmas can’t get their heart-healthy shiraz.