Stuffed: Book summary and reviews of Stuffed by Hank Cardello & Doug Garr

Stuffed

An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat

By Hank Cardello & Doug Garr

Stuffed
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2009,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

Stuffed takes up where Fast Food Nation left off. Echoing Jeffrey Wigand's whistle-blowing on the tobacco industry, Cardello, a food-industry insider, reveals how American food corporations and their marketing machines have spurred the obesity epidemic into our nation's most serious present-day crisis.

For almost thirty years, Hank Cardello worked for some of the largest food and beverage corporations in the world, helping companies like Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, and General Mills find bigger and better ways to keep Americans within reach of one more carbonated beverage and a larger bag of chips.

Now, Cardello blows the lid off the food industry, offering an insider's account of how the boardroom decisions and marketing muscle of America's food giants have promoted the bottom line at the expense of consumer health and created the greatest health problem of our time. But Cardello's goal is not merely to scare people. Along with a discussion of questionable marketing practices, he puts forth a clear plan for making America's food healthier, showing that even in this bleak situation, the future holds a great deal of hope.

Provocative and groundbreaking, Stuffed is a sweeping critique of the food and beverage industry that highlights the money behind the calories and how the finances of food have overpowered the science of health.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The obesity epidemic in particular, he argues, is connected to food businesses that control 'almost everything the average American eats.'" - Publishers Weekly.

"This Big Brotherish approach raises a number of questions ... the subject of healthy food by ineluctable extension requires addressing environmental and agricultural policy issues, which Cardello avoids. Nonetheless, the point zings home: The food industry knows how to sell; now it has to sell the right thing." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Laurie
Where's the Beef?
Not long before reading Stuffed, I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Perhaps it is only in comparison to Michael Pollan’s thought-provoking work that Stuffed struck me as a bit uninspiring, more like a business school case study than a book for popular consumption. As a former food executive, Hank Cardello argues that the food industry has contributed to the obesity crisis in the United States, and suggests some incremental changes that could ameliorate those effects. His suggestions are directed at the food industry itself. As a consumer who tends to avoid packaged foods, I felt like a third party, an eavesdropper on a conversation among food industry insiders that didn't have much to do with me.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Donna
More food for thought...
I consider myself a "foodie" as are probably most of the other reviewers of this book - or am I wrong? That to me is the point of a lot of the discussion in the book. If everyone desired or cared enough to read (and apply) these types of books we wouldn't even have the obesity issue. The way an individual or family eats is a lifestyle decision and, for me, Cardello has given yet another perspective on things - some of which I knew, some I didn't.

I enjoyed the book and found it easier to read than I expected. I did have two favorite chapters that I'd like to mention because I think it would entice a reader. The first, is "Let them eat cupcakes" - a discussion on how schools have vilified the cupcake (and I agree it has become the scapegoat) . My favorite, however - because I strongly agree with - was "Stealth Health". This chapters describes basically ways to help those that cannot seem to help themselves. It describes and suggests ways to make food healthier without the consumer even knowing about it. I do it even with my family...why not in fast food chains or packaged goods?

I recommend this book to individuals or book clubs, it a great way to get people talking and thinking about food and choices.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Bonnie
We are all part of the market!
Ever wonder why you give in to your impulses to buy certain products? Hank Cardello's book Stuffed will give you the answers. From the suppliers to markets to fast food and dining establishments, we are part of the entire process that often causes us to compromise taste for convenience. Stuffed provides the groundwork for anyone desiring to better understand the evolution of the food industry. More importantly, Cardello has written an excellent cross between an historical account of the food industry and a quick study of product marketing for any industry. Future marketers, this book is for you!

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Joan
Stuffed - With The Same Old Stuff
My review was slow in coming, not because the book was not read, but because I could not agree with myself about the worth of the book. Hank Carddello presents a very readable picture of merchandising in the food industry. He has the experience to evaluate the methods used. Many of the revelations are common sense observations and others do shed some light on how many of us are duped into poor eating habits. He says that companies resist change (healthy ones) not beneficial to corporate earning reports. I liked his honesty.

He also said that obese Americans choose to be unhealthy. I agreed with that statement too. However, he goes on to remove the responsibility of behavior from the consumer. The blame is placed on the food and beverage industry. His cure-all necessitates change from the producers and not the consumers. In my opinion there are too many instances where the consequences of behavior are removed from the individual. I see us becoming a nation of whiners always blaming someone else for our shortcomings. Can I sue Krispy Kreme because I am Fat?

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Patricia
Stuufed!
Reading Stuffed brought out all of the ways that the marketing sector of our world manages to trick us into all sorts of varied behaviors. The book brings this out in a variety of ways and lets the reader know that we have been duped into believing all that the ads tell us. It also explains the fact that we truly do not know what it is that we are putting into our bodies and that product placement is everything. The point is well made in the first chapter and repeated with very specific detail throughout the book.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Kathy
Very enjoyable book
I really enjoyed this book. My husband and I are baby boomer's now in our 50's, and while we were always thin and active while young ,we did grow up
eating high sugar cereals, junk food and a lot of fast food in our teens and early adulthood.Now we are both trying to head off becoming diabetic.

We are both in the medical profession and know from patient and unfortunately our own family members the devastating consequences of this disease. Although
we are very educated in nutrition and have managed to both lose over thirty pounds each and turn our blood work results around, I am aware first
hand of not only the limited choices out there but also how conscious one has to be about ingredients. I certainly hope the future of the food industry can
beas healthful as this book says it could possibly be. I really look forward to more sugar free choices especially chocolate.

...12 more reader reviews

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After nearly three decades working as an executive in the food and beverage industry, Hank Cardello suffered a personal health crisis and dedicated himself to introducing healthier ingredients into mainstream food and beverages. He directs the Global Business Obesity Forum, the premier outlet for uniting the mainstream food industry and health scientists to advance solutions to the obesity crisis.

Doug Carr has worked as a journalist, editor, and author for more than thirty years, writing for publications such as Business Week, GQ, Popular Science, and Newsweek.

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