When food companies advertise, do they increase consumer demand for food categories, or do they just steal market share from other companies within a category?
This question is important in U.S. food policy, because only demand expansion raises concerns about the impact of advertising on over-consumption and obesity. For many types of food and beverage advertising, I take these concerns about health impacts seriously.
In the case of the new soup wars between Campbell and Progresso, however, it is safe to say that these advertisements are not going to expand consumer demand for the category!
From Campbell, the accusation that Progresso soups use MSG.
From Progresso, the accusation that Campbell soups use MSG.
Marion Nestle covers this beat in two posts. BrandWeek also covers the two campaigns. It reminds me of those federally sponsored ads from the beef checkoff program a couple years ago, disparaging chicken (with a side swipe against carrots).