Marketing Deception That Drives Me Crazy (And It Should Bother You, too)
November 26, 2013 34 Comments
What is this product is in this photograph? Any guesses?
Let us start with the “No Preservatives” claim on the front. This is obviously a fresh food that will go bad quickly because there haven’t been any preservatives added. Perhaps, this is broccoli.
Now, we can read “no added nitrates or nitrites” and this gives us a hint that it is a form of cured meat. As we know, bacon and lunchmeat have been given a bad rap because of nitrates. Of course, it could still be broccoli.
How about “gluten-free”? Broccoli or meat right? I mean who adds wheat gluten to broccoli before you buy it. Cured meat wouldn’t have wheat added to it.
This is cured ham. The first issue here is that, in my humble opinion, it is a LIE that there are no preservatives. I’m not sure how they get away with this unless salt isn’t listed as a preservative by the FDA.
How does one cure ham? You add salt!! The whole point of ham – duh - ham is preserved pork (see Curing on Wikipedia). You can cure by smoking, but this ham was cured (it says so on the package). Salt is listed as the first ingredient behind pork.
The “no added nitrates or nitrites” is also a bit deceptive – you will note that there is a caveat attached on the package. The truth is these meats are cured with salt and a bacteria starter culture which turns the nitrates in the salt to nitrites. So, these are “naturally occurring” nitrites (but you added them when you mixed together salt and bacteria).
Finally, “gluten-free” – really? Does anyone out there think there is wheat gluten in ham? This claim is simply a way for them to claim that a high sodium, processed meat should be healthy for you. No gluten! Eat all you want.
Here are a few other statements that drive me bonkers:
- Chicken – raised without hormones - the FDA does not permit the use of hormones or steroids in poultry.
- No sugar added – but on the package there is “concentrated fruit juice”. What is that but a form of sugar?
- Whole grain - check the package to see if it is 100% whole grain or they just added a little whole grain to add this claim.
What food marketing claims bother you?
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