Monday, April 27, 2015

What's Inside The Package?

Before I go to the grocery store, I usually have a list of everything I need to purchase for the week.

If I don't, my grocery bill will be double the amount I intended it to be. 

Why?

Because I will get sucked into purchasing grocery and household items based on their outer appearance.

Marketplace grocery and household items are contained in very attractive packages.

Take cheese for example. 

As soon as I get to the cheese section at the grocery store, I am faced with about thirty different types of cheese that all look delicious!

Suddenly, I think I need to purchase white American cheese versus the yellow American cheese that I initially intended to purchase along with cheese sticks and various flavors of brick cheese because they look good.

And then...

Wait a minute.

Did I just see veggie cheese?

 

It looks so healthy.  And, I found it in the vegetable section at the grocery store too!

I think to myself,  Maybe I should get some veggie cheese because it is probably made with vegetables.

But, after reading the ingredients label, I realize these cheddar flavor shreds are not made with whole vegetables, but with soy base (filtered water, isolated soy protein).

The Go Veggie! cheese product above contains the following: Soy Base (filtered water, isolated soy protein), Casein (a dried skim milk protein), Canola Oil, Modified Food Starch, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, 2% or less of Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Enzyme-Modified Cheese Flavor which incudes cultured milk, salt, enzymes, and calcium chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Sorbic Acid (a preservative), Dried Yeast, Carrageenan (Cara...who?), Lactic Acid, Food Color known as carotenal (must be related to Carrageenan), Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin C, Ferric Orthophosphate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, Butterfat, Riboflavin, Vitamin E, Potato Starch, Powdered Cellulose to prevent caking, Natamycin - a natural mold inhibitor (well, at least it's natural).

The package also claims that this food product melts and stretches.

So, is it cheese then?

No.  This is definitely NOT cheese. 

Cheese is the curd of milk separated from the whey.

This nice colorful package contains a cheddar flavor processed cheese food alternative that is not made with whole vegetables.

In fact, soy protein isolate is mainly used in food products as an emulsifier and to improve texture.

But, since the label of this food product is GoVeggie! consumers are led to believe that it is as healthy as eating fresh vegetables, especially when the slogan on the package says, "Eat Smart. Live Happy.  GO Veggie!"

And by the way, there is also a Go Veggie! processed cheese food alternative that is made with rice instead of soy. 

Is rice a vegetable?

Do you see how misleading the brand names of food products can be?

The colorful packages of food attract the eye of the consumer and the marketing claims lead you to believe the product inside the package is healthy.

"Naturally Flavored, Made With Whole Oats, Sweetened With Real Honey Flavor, and Can Help Lower Cholesterol," are examples of marketing claims used to convince consumers to purchase food products.

Take a look at this package of Lucky Charms cereal:



Each marshmallow has a description beside implying that cereal containing marshmallows is healthy.

This Lucky Charms cereal box claims the cereal inside has no high fructose corn syrup, has 10 grams of sugar per serving, and is a good source of calcium and vitamin D.

Did you also notice at the bottom of the box the words Goodness first?

Consumers may purchase a package of Lucky Charms because after reading the marketing claims, they believe marshmallow cereal is not only magically delicious, but it is healthy too!

Unfortunately, Lucky Charms cereal is not magically healthy.
 
If you read the ingredients list on the side of the cereal box, whole grain oats are the first ingredient which is good and healthy.

But, they are covered with sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch, corn starch, dextrose, artificial colors and flavors which is not so healthy.




It's like taking peanuts (healthy) and covering them with chocolate and a candy layer to make M&M's (not so healthy). 

Sure, Lucky Charms and M&M's taste good, but they are in no way, shape, or form considered to be healthy.  But, the marketing world tries to make us believe that they are!

The marketing world is very good at their job which is to get consumers to buy products.  

The food industry is a business. 

The food industry is happy to accept your money and presents food and beverage items in colorful packages to get your attention.

When I go down the cereal isle at the grocery store, I don't see cereal.  I see high-fiber breakfast products with added vitamins and minerals that have been clinically shown to enhance my morning performance.

Successful strategies to marketing food includes showing consumers that the food product is more than the food itself.

This is the challenge we face as consumers of the foods and beverages being marketed to us.

Our challenge is to start being more mindful when we are purchasing food and to try to pay attention to the food itself.

The marketing world will continue to label foods using misleading names and claims which promote unhealthy consumer choices, behaviors, and lifestyles. 

In a nutshell, don't let the powerful influences of the marketing world fool you. 

The only way to truly know what is inside the package is to read the food label.

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