Have you ever noticed how food is marketed to kids through parents? I know this is nothing new… but does it seem to you like the big food companies (and even the small ones) are trying to take advantage of our busy schedules by duping us into thinking we’re buying something healthy for our kids, when really it’s anything but? Are we falling for the ploys? You know what I mean… The pretty packaging, the convenient look or feel, even the so-called ‘healthy and natural’ claims on a box?
Recently I came across a photo posted on Facebook of a new brand of snack food for kids. The name of the product caught my attention as it just sounded peculiar. Since food and nutrition is my thing, I dug a little deeper; turns out it was a sandwich in a CAN! I couldn’t stop there, so I checked out the company’s facebook page and then ventured over to their website. What I found there sickened me; the company is marketing this product (science experiment?) to children with their clever packaging and colors, complete with a cartoon on the front, all while stating that the food is ‘all natural’ and a healthy lunch option. They sure put in a good amount of effort in order to grab our attention so we feel good about buying it for our kids. Even worse, they listed the nutrition facts label while conveniently omitting the list of ingredients. I was suspicious. So I did something I don’t normally do… I posted a complaint on their Facebook wall. (And let’s just say it wasn’t a post full of praise). And from what I could tell, I was the only one making a stink about it. The whole thing makes me mad. What are these companies trying to pull? And more importantly are we buying into the marketing of their frankenfood? I did even more digging and managed to find a picture of the ingredients list: [insert pic here]
Scary, right? I’m pretty sure this doesn’t even qualify as food. And I knew I’d seen ‘propylene glycol’ somewhere before… yep, it’s the main ingredient in my husband’s deodorant! Gah! The worst part? (You thought eating ingredients in men’s deodorant was the worst part didn’t you?) The company responded to my post and proceeded to make a case for how great their product is and how ‘not everyone can afford to shop at an organic store’. (Um, maybe not but we can afford apples and wash the skin, mister! And at least apples are apples, not men’s deodorant!) They called the ingredients ‘shelf-stable technology’. (What?!)
If you take nothing more away from this post, please know that healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive. I know that as moms, we care about what we put into our children’s mouths (sure as heck we don’t want them eating men’s deodorant!) but most of us have to stick within a reasonable grocery budget too, right? It’s up to us where we spend our dollars and what kind of foods we spend them on. Fruit and vegetables are incredibly inexpensive at farmer’s markets, roadside stands, CSAs and more. Our children deserve nothing less than our absolute adherence to their well-being. This means reading labels and looking up terms when you don’t know the definition. Here is a great point of reference for leading labels: if a packaged food has more than 5 ingredients, consider buying something else or making it yourself. If it has a really long list… drop it and run! Let’s change the course of our children’s futures… let’s not buy into clever packaging, and let’s put some pressure on the big companies to really mean the words ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’ lest they forget there’s a farmers market down the road, and you know what they don’t sell? Men’s deodorant!
Happy grocery shopping! Below is a link to some of the local farmers markets in town!
[Morgan Torres Blog Tag]