Mindvalley’s founder Vishen Lakhiani tells MARKETING magazine his thoughts on the MILO controversy
Malaysia’s favourite beverage has stirred up quite a fiasco recently. MARKETING magazine goes straight to Vishen Lakhiani, founder, and CEO of education technology company Mindvalley, the man behind it all to uncover the truth.
For those who are still wondering about the Milo fiasco, you can find the timeline here.
What are your thoughts on Nestlé’s latest counter-statement, “The 40% sugar shown on the label refers to MILO powder before water is added. When added with 200ml water, the sugar content is 6% of the total drink.”
Vishen stated that Nestlé like many big food companies were not going to admit the damaging effects of their ‘food’. “5 teaspoons by standard definition is 21 grams. Based on the back of Milo’s tin, Milo is 40% sugar. This means that a glass of Milo if you follow ‘recommended’ allowance, is already close to 9 grams of sugar. But we all know most consumers don’t do it this way,” said Vishen.
He added on that Malaysians have developed a habit of adding sweetened condensed milk and thanks to Milo’s false marketing as a health drink, many consumers avoid milk and consume Milo with water and the additional condensed milk.
“Milo is marketed as a health drink (complete with a picture of a sportsman on every can) consumers add far more spoonfuls to their water or milk thinking it’s healthy.”
He quotes Wikipedia which states that “Milo dissolved in water has a Glycemic Index (GI) of 55, the same as Coca-Cola. However, milk has a much lower GI of 30 – 33, so mixing a very small amount of Milo into a mug of milk yields an overall GI closer to 33, and mixing a large amount of Milo into a mug of milk will give a GI closer to 55.” Vishen tells us that he confirmed this information with one of America’s leading doctors, Dr. Mark Hyman.
“Milo has d the same glycemic index as Coke! And about many people use more than the recommended scoops…Definitely toxic,” said Mark.
“In Malaysia, Nestlé likewise encourages over-drinking of Milo by associating Milo with “energy gaps” in kids. Nestlé even runs ads in the Philippines suggesting that 4/5 kids suffer from “Energy Gaps”. There is no such thing.”
Vishen then confirms this by sending the ad over to Dr. Mark who states that “this energy gap thing is bullshit.”
Below is the commercial Nestlé advertises in the Philippines on “energy gap”:
MARKETING asked Vishen if he believes if his video will be impactful enough to change the Malaysian mindset on Milo’s dangerously high sugar content?
“Yes. All around the world, societies are waking up to the harmful effects of sugar and governments are starting to tighten food labeling regulation and advertising regulation. This will happen in Malaysia too,” said Vishen.
Nestlé and Milo’s marketing strategy has served them well over the past few decades. Will Malaysians wake up to this news?
“Malaysia is now the fattest country in Asia. We need to wake up to the dangers of obesity. According to the New Straits Times, almost 50% of Malaysian over 18 are clinically obese. We need to wake up. We need to do this for the children,” emphasized Vishen.
“This leads me to Nestle’s second great lie. Food companies want us to believe that obesity is due to lack of exercise. This is not true. Modern science shows that 95% of your body shape is due to what you eat and not exercise. Vox.com summarizes the science behind this,” added Vishen.
Vishen concludes the interview by stating as a society, we also need to stop treating a lack of exercise and diet as equally responsible for the obesity problem in this country. Public-health obesity policies should prioritize fighting the over-consumption of low-quality food and improving the food environment.”
“You don’t lose weight by drinking Milo and then going for a run. You lose weight by carefully watching what you eat and giving up unhealthy sugary foods. And this includes Milo.”