GRE Argument Essay 182
The following appeared in a memo from the president of a company that makes breakfast cereals.
“In a recent study, subjects who ate soybeans at least five times per week had significantly lower cholesterol levels than subjects who ate no soy products. By fortifying our Wheat-O cereal with soy protein, we can increase sales by appealing to additional consumers who are concerned about their health. This new version of Wheat-O should increase company profits and, at the same time, improve the health of our customers.”
The president of the company that makes breakfast cereals gives an argument in which he advocates fortifying soy protein in their cereal Wheat-O. This suggestion comes from the recent study that points out the health benefits of soybeans and the president expects to increase profits since the cereal would attract customers who are concerned about their health. Fortifying Wheat-O with soy proteins would probably make it more nutritive, but it is possible that this does not increase the company profits as expected by the president because the sale of a product depends on many other factors. The argument given by the president is not completely convincing since it ignores many important factors related to the sale of the cereal.
First of all, the study mentioned in the beginning of the argument is subject to criticism of the reader. It does not give a clear indication that lower cholesterol levels are due to an intake of soybeans. The president does not give any statistical basis to his study that makes the reader wonder about the actual number of subjects who have observed a lower level of cholesterol. Further, the subjects who ate soybeans at least five times per week and have experienced a lower level of cholesterol could probably be on a fat free and oil free diet in general. On the other hand, those who had higher levels of cholesterol could probably be eating fatty and oily foods. Since the diet of all the subjects is not known and may not be uniform, the effect of soybeans on the cholesterol levels cannot be pinpointed. Moreover, the argument also does not mention the cholesterol levels of its subjects as observed before they consumed soybeans. It is likely that the ones who ate soybeans already had a lower level of cholesterol than those who did not have soybeans. Therefore, the role of soybeans in reducing cholesterol levels is not significant enough to include it in the breakfast cereal.
There could be many people who are concerned about their health. However, this does not prove that they would prefer the new version of Wheat-O. Firstly, the customers would buy this cereal only if they are aware of the benefits of soy protein. If the people were not informed about the effect of soy protein on the cholesterol levels, this change in the cereal would not make a difference to them. Further, it is possible that there are few people with high cholesterol levels and therefore not many customers are concerned about lowering their cholesterol levels. Since people are concerned about their health, it is possible that they resort to other ways of maintaining good health and lowering cholesterol. For example, instead of taking processed foods and cereals, they could prefer eating raw fruits and salads. Moreover, it is possible that people believe in exercising and reducing fat and cholesterol rather than taking a breakfast cereal that is rich in soy protein. In that case too fortification of Wheat-O with soy protein would not make any difference to its sales.
In the end the president says that the cereal would improve the health of their customers. However, the customers cannot rely only on the breakfast cereal to improve their health and will have to maintain a lifestyle of good diet and regular exercise. Moreover, the president also ignores the possibility of other breakfast cereal brands in the market, which could have same or more nutritive value than Wheat-O. In that case Wheat-O would have to face competition in the market. The president ignores the preference of customers for other brands rather than Wheat-O.
It can therefore be seen that the sale of Wheat-O is not sure to rise with fortification of the cereal. The president should take a clue from the discussion given above and consider all related aspects and present a better argument that is more convincing and realistic.