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The Associated Press has a story about how a variety of food companies - ranging from McDonald's and Chipotle to Panera and Sweetgreen - are "crusading against Big Food," hoping that this marketing approach will differentiate them from the competition.

These companies "are positioning themselves as advocates for change before accomplishing some health goals, and skeptics say even well-intentioned marketing can be a disingenuous way to help people rationalize overeating."

Some examples: "McDonald's unveiled a food 'philosophy' this summer and announced it was eliminating some unpalatable-sounding ingredients. Wendy's casts itself as part of the 'farm-to-fork, fast-food trend,' and Taco Bell, which has been testing a taco shell made out of fried chicken, refers to 'the farms that make our food' ... Chipotle remains an adept practitioner of the strategy, even as it employs some loopholes. It announced last year that it rid its menu of genetically modified ingredients, but serves Coca-Cola sodas made with high-fructose corn syrup."
KC's View:
Someone says in the article that even good marketing is still marketing, and that in the end, informed customers will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. (In this case, almost literally.) Personally, I think that companies like McDonald's, Wendy's and Taco Bell are full of it when they try to position themselves this way; I simply don't believe what they say.

I also think that companies have to navigate this approach very carefully. First of all, if you are found to be deceiving customers, you lose credibility. And if you say you have higher standards, inevitably you will be held to those high standards ... which will make it easier to fail.