Sunday, January 15, 2012

Snarks and Solutions: Food Plus Air = Profits!!

Don't you love (and you know I mean love/hate) all the clever little trends that pop up in the world of processed food?  My current cringe-worth favorite right now is "food" puffed up with air, and then labeled as "fancy food" and sold for twice the price of the original.  This crossed my mind after I discovered how cheap and easy it is to puff air into homemade hand soap, but it's really pretty ridiculous once you think about it.

Of course, finger foods like Cheetos and toddler rice "puffs" have been around a while, but there seems to be some kind of new technology around that conveniently adds air to thick and gooey foods.

The first one I noticed was "Whipped" frosting.  Apparently, baking aisle pros were becoming savvy to the common practice of plunking a jar of frosting in the mixer, puffing it up, and covering two cakes with it instead of one, so they kindly took the work out of the process for the home cook, by pre-puffing the frosting, and then selling jars half full of air, for the same price.

Next in the line-up is pudding "mousse," which as far as I can tell is just normal pudding, maybe with added raspberry flavor to make it more "grown up" and "sophisticated," that has, as a special ingredient, you guessed it - AIR!  My favorite thing about this product is the marketing that advertises something like "half the fat and calories" of normal pudding.  Ha!  At least they are telling you that you're getting half the product for twice the price!

The newest addition to the "puff-it-with-air" phenomenon, I think, is Hershey's kisses that are filled with, not mint, cherry, or caramel flavor, but, you guessed it, AIR!!  Just what I've always wanted in my chocolate - air pockets.  I guess maybe these are supposed to have a mousse-y texture?

Okay, these wallet-stripping products might be semi-entertaining, but this  article describing "air filled emulsions" which could take the place of fats in low-fat foods. to "ease obesity" is closer to scary.  Not that the emulsions themselves necessarily sound that terrible, but the whole mentality of encouraging consumers to continually stuff their faces with air-puffed nothingness, instead of developing a healthy eating relationship with real, nutrition-packed foods seems like a step in the wrong direction.

I guess the solution here is obvious: if you don't want to be shelling out your hard earned money to eat food that is mostly air, just eat real food!

Posted at Fight Back Friday

6 comments:

  1. Preach it sister! I love it. So very true, there is a giant flaw with the system that encourages people to eat food filled with worthless fillers that are supposedly healthier instead of encouraging the eating of real food. Real food = real life-giving substance.

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  2. You are so right - the more real food the less well, in this case air, we pay for and the more nutrition we ingest! It is certainly consumer beware! Oh, and if I wanted chocolate with holes in the middle I would eat chocolate Easter bunnies!

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    1. Chocolate Easter bunnies are at least up front about being hollow. :)

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  3. Oh, this is sooooooo true. Yet it's all in the marketing -- 'but it sounds so good', people say. Yuck. Now that I know what real food is my eyes are wide open to all of these tricks and it makes me nauseated to even think about eating them.

    Americans are starving! Literally. They have no nutrients to live off of and they gorge themselves to keep filling that hunger. This is what marketing of food does to us.

    Thanks for the reminders! :)

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  4. That's so true - so many things that used to sound good now sound pretty terrible. I guess when you're starved for nutrients, anything sounds good!

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I'd prefer a great discussion to this one-sided pontification any day. Help a girl out. Please leave a comment.

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