Marketing, Truth and Food

Case: – Marketing, Truth and Food


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Online Lecture – Relativism and Where we eat. 

The impact – or influence of relativism- is everywhere; but most clearly evident where the ethic of relativism intersects with culture.  And we see it most clearly in food.

The food industry is massive.  As an industry, it i is an enormously complex, global collective of diverse businesses that supplies most of the food consumed by the world population. Only subsistence farmers, those who survive on what they grow, and hunter-gatherers can be considered outside the web of the modern food industry; and even then, decisions made by the food industry can have local impact on flora and fauna that are consumed.

And food also tells us a great deal about culture.  Food is community, humanity, status and survival.

Here is a great discourse on this subject by Amy Choi.  (Links to an external site.)

Food also manifests our ethical expression.  And like the relativism found in culture, we see that relativism manifested in food.  Some cultures avoid some foods as taboo; others have few rules about food and focus on the behavior of eating.   But ultimately, the point is that WE ALL eat, and WE ALL have certain expectations of our food. so, this topic is intimate.,

And the question becomes, is our food – or rather the purveyors of our food – feeding us along those expectations or is a violation of this expectations occurring?  Do we fully honor religious expectations to have food be kosher of halal?  And when food is labeled as “meat” or “vegan” are those terms being used to convey “truth” as in expectations or “truth” as in ‘for marketing purposes’?

To explore this, let’s watch two documentaries:

The first of these is Food Inc. that explore the industry and the decisions within the industry about how food is presented to us.

Click the video below to watch the documentary.




And the second one of these documentaries is Fed Up- that explores in more detail the intersection of law, ethics and responsibilities.


Click the video below to watch the documentary.



After seeing these documentaries, what kind of ethical stance do you have about food, or rather, what are your expectations of the food industry?  In your view, do businesses bear any responsibility for the delivery of food?  And do they bear any responsibility toward behavior at all?

  • Regarding the choices made by adults?  Is obesity a choice that businesses can or should ignore?
  • Are corporations responsible to provide information about calories and activity to mitigate obesity?
  • Ultimately, is there shared responsibility for the choice and availability of food that individuals consume?
  • Should the food industry be held to a different standard than other industries?



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