Selling healthy food is more profitable?

I read an RWJF report yesterday that made me smile. It turns out that companies that sell foods that are better for you made more money than companies that did not. Healthier foods included “no-, low- and reduced-calorie items, such as flavored waters or diet sodas, as well as products that generally are perceived to be healthier, such as yogurts and whole-grain cereals.”

The differences were pretty impressive. Companies with a higher percentage of sales in healthier foods:

  • showed a 50 percent growth in operating profit, as compared with just over 20 percent growth for the other companies;
  • outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 60 points on average, compared with roughly 40 points for the other companies;
  • delivered returns to their shareholders that were 15 percentage points higher than those generated by companies with lower sales of BFY items; and
  • recorded reputation ratings that were more than 30 percent higher than those of companies with lower sales of BFY items.
It’s generally hard to make people change their behavior. It’s nice to see (1) that people are buying more and more healthier foods and (2) that companies may see a financial incentive to sell more healthier foods. It’s hard to see a downside here.
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