Has Pandemic Snacking Lured Us Back to Big Food and Bad Habits?
Would you be surprised to know that junk food is not as addicting, but more addicting than drugs, tobacco or alcohol? Based on research for Michael Moss' upcoming new book, Hooked: Food and Free Will, it's true! Moss explores how Big Food companies are working to exploit our eating habits at a time when our health has never mattered more. One needs only to look at a grocery store layout to see this in action - junk food is placed near the checkout areas and presented as a more attractive option than healthy foods.
Stress is one of the biggest drivers of emotional eating. Stressed and worried during this pandemic, we've been so busy paying attention to the news that we've lowered our guard and become vulnerable to a host of psychological tricks that encourage our unhealthy impulse buying -- even when we purchase groceries online. Who doesn't like a bargain? To get free shipping, we're pushed to add junk food at checkout.
In other words, Big Food companies are now translating their in-person techniques into the virtual world and due to COVID-19, we’re seeing an increase in the consumption of processed foods. Moss explains how we can avoid falling victim to marketing techniques through some simple steps to help us make more mindful choices and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
Some of the most profitable food companies of the last half century are knowingly manipulating salt, sugar, and fat to addict us to their products. And it’s working. The industry rakes in a trillion dollars a year. Meanwhile, one in three adults, and one in five kids, is clinically obese, and the total economic cost of this health crisis is approaching $300 billion a year. How did we get here, and what can we do? In this compelling talk, Michael Moss offers an empowering narrative, grounded in meticulous, often eye-opening research. He takes us inside the labs where food scientists are enhancing the “mouthfeel” of fat by manipulating its chemical structure. He shows how food companies are adapting marketing techniques from tobacco companies, and expanding into new, international markets. And he talks to concerned executives who confess that they could never produce truly healthy alternatives to their products even if serious regulation became a reality. Based on the bestselling book that has started a necessary national conversation, Moss’s keynote offers an objective and sweeping take of the problems, and the many solutions. You will never look at a nutrition label, or the food on your plate, the same way again.
Is That Really Healthy?: Debunking Myths and Better Understanding the New World of Health Food
Acai bowls. Cold-pressed juices. Gluten-free snacks. The market surrounding health foods has exploded in recent years, and the conversation surrounding how diet contributes to a truly healthy lifestyle has grown increasingly louder. In this informative and empowering keynote, Michael Moss takes a deep dive into the world of health, wellness and “self-improvement,” providing science-backed, fact-based research on what actually works and how to avoid getting sucked into the latest fad. Debunking some prevalent myths, and providing audiences with simple and easy tools to promote healthy habits and reduce their reliance on salt, sugar and fat, Moss’ keynote leaves audience thinking and energized to make positive adjustments to their daily lives. Filled with humility and humor, Moss tailors his talk to every audience, ensuring it is accessible and actionable for audiences worldwide.
Becoming Kale: Lessons in Smart Marketing
What makes people tick and products popular? In this fascinating program, Michael Moss takes audiences inside the world of smart marketing, unpacking lessons from his New York Times Magazine cover story: Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover. Having worked with a leading advertising agency to create an experimental mass marketing campaign for broccoli, Moss reveals how the same masterful, strategic and, at times, manipulative, tactics of the biggest brands in the food industry (from Coca-Cola to General Mills) can work to sell any product regardless of its seeming unpopularity. Shedding light on the psychology, precise data collection and statistical analysis that goes into the most ingenious marketing campaigns, Moss provides actionable lessons and entertaining anecdotes for consumers and businesses alike, regardless of industry.
The State of Journalism: Investigative Reporting in the Age of Fake News
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Michael Moss sheds light on the state of journalism today, and the challenges of in-depth reporting in the age of click-bait headlines and fake news. From his on-the-ground reporting during the Iraq War to his work uncovering the dangers of contaminated meat, Moss takes audiences inside the at-times dangerous world of investigative journalism, revealing what it takes to obtain official documents, work with sources, and the painstaking process of fact-checking. Providing insightful and engaging commentary on how to address the public’s growing demand for reliable news sources, and why long-format, investigative journalism is hard to come by in today’s media environment, Moss’ talk is both a fascinating reflection on journalism’s past and a prescription for its future.
Virtual Programming: Two-time New York Times bestselling author and food industry expert Michael Moss exposes our addictions to processed foods in his book Hooked, and explains how we can retrain our brains to regain control of our health
MICHAEL MOSS is the Pulitzer Prize-wining, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Salt Sugar Fat, a powerful exposé of how the processed food industry exploits our evolutionary instincts, the emotions we associate with food, and legal loopholes in the name of profit over public health. In his follow-up Hooked, a New York Times bestseller in nonfiction, Moss uses the latest research on food addiction since the publication of Salt Sugar Fat to explore the science of addiction and uncover what the scientific and medical communities--as well as food manufacturers--already know: food can, in some cases, be even more addictive than alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. Our bodies are hard-wired for sweets, so food manufacturers have deployed fifty-six types of sugar to add to their products. A gripping account of the legal battles, insidious marketing campaigns, and cutting-edge food science that have brought us to our current public health crisis, Hooked lays out the ways that the food industry is exploiting our addictions, and shows us what we can do to retrain our brains to change what we value in food and seize control of our health. The book has gained lots of attention, named to The New York Times' "11 New Books We Recommend This Week," Newsweek's 2021 Most Highly Anticipated Books list, and AARP's 16 New Nonfiction Books for Winter list. The book has been featured in many outlets, including The New York Times, Forbes, The Los Angeles Times, and Fox Nation, and reviewed by Kirkus, who said, "Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist Moss is a powerhouse when it comes to research and analysis, and much like his contemporary Michael Lewis, he possesses the ability to maintain a solid narrative arc....Another clear eyed inquiry into the companies that feed us, hook us, and leave us wanting more."
Moss has spoken on multiple podcasts about his work, discussing how food companies get us hooked on junk with NPR, and joining Dax Shepherd's Armchair Expert to chat about food addiction. In his New York Times article, Has Pandemic Snacking Lured Us Back to Big Food and Bad Habits?, Moss examines the surges in sales of packaged foods as we grazed at home, fed uncomfortable emotions and stocked our pantries. "We may think that we turned a corner on our eating habits with all that sourdough baking we did," Moss quips, "but Big Food isn’t about to let us off its hook that easily." Emboldened by the trend, food companies are preparing on onslaught of marketing campaigns across all platforms, which Moss encourages us to see with a critical eye. Moss has been a guest on shows like CBS This Morning, CNN The Lead, ATC and the Daily Show and is comfortable producing digital content, as he did for the New York Times and his series PodNips: Snackable Insights on All Things Food.
Speaker Spotlight: Michael Moss
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, MICHAEL MOSS has been sought-out to speak at organizations and companies as diverse as Bloomberg, Nestle, Seabourn Cruise Line, UCLA, the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, and the Produce Marketing Association. Moss is hailed as ”extraordinary… a perfect speaker” (University of the Sciences) and “a really amazing and engaging speaker, very professional” (Premier News and Finance Company) thanks to his “powerful message” (Epicure) “extraordinary depth and breadth of knowledge” (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) and “entertaining, informative style” (UCLA). His presentation style is genuinely fascinating, interactive and fun, and he is able to tailor his remarks to any audience. Beyond his most popular Salt Sugar Fat talk-- which offers a fascinating look at how the food giants hooked us-- Moss also offers insights into the new world of health and wellness, lessons in smart (statistics and research-based) marketing, and the state of journalism.
Michael Moss is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and the author of Hooked: Food, Free Will, and How the Food Giants Exploit our Addictions, a New York Times Bestseller for nonfiction, and Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, a #1 New York Times bestseller published in 2013 by Random House.
From 2000 until 2015, he was an investigative reporter with The New York Times, reporting most recently on the processed food industry. In 2010, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for his investigation of the dangers of contaminated meat. His hamburger article was the centerpiece of a body of work focused on surprising and troubling holes in the system to keep food safe.
Before joining The Times, Moss was a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for his reporting on the lack of protective armor for soldiers in Iraq, and in 1999 for a team effort on Wall Street’s emerging influence in the nursing home industry. He received an Overseas Press Club citation in 2007 for stories on the faulty justice system for American-held detainees in Iraq.
Moss is a former adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and has had fellowships with the German Marshall Fund and the Gannett Center for Media Studies. In 1983 he covered an expedition up the West Ridge of Mount Everest in Nepal.
Born in Eureka, Calif., Moss attended San Francisco State University. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Eve Heyn, a communications specialist on global health matters, and their two boys.