Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another thing that annoys me about food

Recalling that post a while back, I was reminded of something else I absolutely hate.

Food that's obviously packaged as a single-serving convenience food item, yet upon inspecting the nutrition facts lists itself as multiple servings.

The only reason I can think of that they do this is so they can get the nutrition fact numbers down and make you think their shit is more healthy than it really is. So basically they're manipulating their serving size to misinform the consumer about the contents of the package. No doubt another contributor to the glaring weight problem America collectively has.

Even Pop-Tarts are guilty of this. Pop-Tarts are packaged in boxes containing bags that have two Pop-Tarts in each, right? Take a good look at the nutrition facts. Serving size: 1 Pop-Tart. Even though they're sub-packaged in twos. Just so they could list it as having only 5g of fat per serving. Most people I know that eat Pop-Tarts (including myself) eat them two at a time.

Coca-cola got a lot better recently about stuff like this. Their 20oz bottles used to have a ridiculous 8oz serving size. They still list the 8oz serving size's nutrition facts for whatever reason (even though there's 2.5 servings at that size), but now they also list the proper 20oz serving size's nutrition facts.

That reminds me of another thing I hate that goes along with the whole "manipulation of nutrition facts to intentionally misinform the consumer": Trans Fat amounts. Just because the nutrition facts say Trans Fat: 0g, doesn't mean there's actually zero trans fat. The FDA has left open a loophole that allows them to list something as 0g when there's less than a certain amount (I think it's 0.5g). Inspect the ingredients list of something claiming 0g trans fat. If you see any partially hydrogenated oils, they're lying their asses off. Fully hydrogenated oils and oils that haven't been hydrogenated don't contribute any trans fat. The concept of zero inidcates that there is nothing, it shouldn't be allowed to be used when there actually is something.

Pop-Tarts are guilty of this too. Or at least the Cookies 'N Creme flavor is. The sprinkles have partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oil. It's ambiguous as to whether or not the soybean oil is partially hydrogenated (whoever wrote their ingredients list needs to take a refresher course in Technical Writing), but I'd lean towards it being partially hydrogenated also. They do have a little symbol next to this that expands to "less than 0.5g trans fat per serving", but why the fuck don't they just fucking put that in the fucking nutritional facts instead of fucking making the reader hunt all over the fucking package for it?

A third (and final, for this post at least) thing: When the package imagery doesn't accurately reflect the serving size. Hillshire Farms lunch meats are very guilty of this (oh and whaddaya know, Pop-Tarts are too. Three for three!). Take a look at any one of their packages, they show a sandwich with a massive amount of meat on it. Take a look at the serving size, it's generally 3-5 slices. To get what's in the image, you generally have to use the entire package. Actually, I'm convinced that's actually what they want you to do, since they seem to make sure the slices are hard as hell to separate neatly. This is partially fueled by how thin they're cut, they just stick together. The other factor is that they seem to take it straight from the pile that falls off the back of the meat slicer and shove it into the package as-is instead of neatening it up a bit.

At least they stopped that stupid High School Musical 3 promotion. Honestly, nobody bought the first one, nobody bought the second one, and nobody who's buying meat is going to save a few Hillshire Farms meat UPCs to send in for a rebate on the third one. Worst-targeted promotion ever.

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