In his inauguration speech yesterday, President Obama said, in so many words, he was all for deficit reduction, but not at the expense (pun!) of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Allow us then, to point the way. Meet the United States Department of Agriculture, an agency that costs taxpayers $155 billion per year, currently putting on its best bureaucratic face to keep Greek yogurt off U.S. citizens’ plates.
The Greek yogurt phenomenon will spawn more than a dozen Harvard Business case studies, we predict. Future MBAs and Master’s will examine the ins and outs of marketing in an industry that grows at triple digits, years on end.
But the case studies might not include this embarrassing little sideshow:
The USDA, the agency that spent God knows how much to decide the food pyramid should be reshaped into a plate, does not recognize Greek yogurt as a food.
Congressmen and women from around the country are challenging the USDA’s “sounds like Greek to me” position:
“A standard serving of Greek yogurt has more protein than an equivalent portion of beans, yet it is not included in the list of protein sources in current USDA nutrition materials, nor is it recognized as a type of yogurt on the dairy page,” the lawmakers wrote.
By sleeping at its $155-billion wheel, the USDA doesn’t classify Greek yogurt as (a) yogurt, nor (b) protein. We will guess the agency was fooled by the “Greek” part and went with choice “c” – international food.
The USDA kills two birds here, since it also regulates what is permitted under the National School Lunch Program. So no Greek yogurt for you!, kids. (Instead, just watch those new Coke “obesity” TV spots.)
Therefore, Mr. President, Lairig Marketing humbly submits that we disband the USDA and immediately take $155 billion to the country’s bottom line. Greek yogurt for all !