Campbell’s Upgrades Soup Ingredient List

Star Wars memorabilia is adorning the cans of Campbell’s soups.  Not only has the packaging changed, the actual food product has as well.  In fact, the original ingredient list for Campbell’s chicken broth soup for children has been reimagined, while chemicals, enhancers, preservatives have been abandoned for the duration.  Nevertheless, the tried and true favorite ingredients in the children’s soup, such as vegetables and meat products, will remain.  In this way, Campbell’s appears to be emphasizing a whole foods approach to their manufacturing and production.  Furthermore, Campbell’s Director of Communications, Anna Burr, announced “When we make a change to a recipe that is as loved as our kids’ chicken and pasta soup, we work very hard to keep the flavor and texture consistent, because we know just how important that is for people, especially kids.”  However, Burr made sure to mention that at Campbell’s, “We know cleaner-label food is something parents are looking for” (Saelinger).

Joy Bauer, a nutritionist for TODAY, offers an explanation as to why companies such as Campbell’s are altering the ingredient lists of their food and beverage products.  Bauer states “In order to keep sales from taking a downward turn, these big companies know they have to adjust and re-formulate recipes that previously were flying off shelves” (Saelinger).

I have always been a staunch advocate for the vast change that each individual has the potential to affect upon our global food system.  I have noticed that this year in particular has brought the power that a single individual can have upon our food system to the forefront.  As more and more companies raise the standards for ingredients, food preparation, and product distribution, I am reminded that food companies are reactionary.  And, the majority of the time, they change as a response to us.  We, as consumers, possess the power to initiate change, whether it be through our collective wallets or our united voices.

How do you use your wallet and your voice to initiate changes in a local or global food system?

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Saelinger, Tracy. “Campbell’s cuts artificial flavors–and celery–from its kids’ chicken noodle soup.” TODAY. 10 Nov. 2015: NBC News. Web. 6 Dec. 2015. <http://www.today.com/food/campbells-cuts-10-artificial-ingredients-its-iconic-chicken-noodle-soup-t55136>

The Skinny on Oreo Thins

Let the countdown begin for Oreo lovers… in less than a week, Oreo’s new brainchild, Oreo Thins, will be available for purchase in the United States.  Evidently, these Oreo Thins taste the same as their surviving ancestors, the original Oreo Cookie.  It appears as though the only meaningful difference between the two cookies from a nutritional point of view is the number of calories.  Three Oreo Cookies boast 160 calories, while four Oreo Thins boast 140 calories.  So why would Mondelez International Incorporated create this skinnier spin on an old American favorite, and why would they do it now? (Choi).

Senior Brand Manager Patty Gonzalez addressed these questions by stating “At Oreo, we know that some of our fans have grown up and that their tastes have grown up too.  The crisp and delicate texture of Oreo Thins was specially designed for fans who love the taste of Oreo but are looking for a more sophisticated cookie” (Putnam).  Personally, sophistication and Oreos are two words that I would never, ever put in the same sentence, but to each his or her own.

According to the Business Insider, “the Oreo Thin package weighs 10.1 ounces while the original Oreo package weighs 14.3 ounces” (Garber).  However, it is interesting to note that the Associated Press claims the pricing of a container of Oreo Thins and a container of Oreos will be equivalent (Choi).  Exploring the optics in this scenario would lead me to believe that Mondelez International Incorporated is more determined to generate a larger profit for themselves than elevate their cookies to appeal to a mature audience.  The premise of this deduction could be valid for two reasons:

1.  In 2014, Oreo Thins graced the market in China after cookie sales had begun to dwindle (Choi).

2.  Cookie sales also dwindled in the U.S. in January, February, and March of 2015 (Choi).

How does the skinny on Oreo Thins sit with you?

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Choi, Candice. “Oreos get thin, going for ‘sophisticated’ air.” Associated Press. 6 July 2015: Associated Press. Web. 7 July 2015. <http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1d13badff94b4397beb39179b5c12d2d/oreos-get-thin-going-sophisticated-air>

Garber, Jonathan. “Here is something Oreo hopes you don’t notice.” Business Insider. 7 July 2015: Business Insider Incorporated. Web. 7 July 2015. <http://www.businessinsider.in/Here-is-something-Oreo-hopes-you-dont-notice-/articleshow/47977957.cms>

Putnam, Lindsay. “Skinny Oreos are a Double Stuf lover’s worst nightmare.” New York Post. 6 July 2015: NYP Holdings, Incorporated. Web. 7 July 2015. <http://nypost.com/2015/07/06/skinny-oreos-are-a-double-stuf-lovers-worst-nightmare/>

Panera Gives Life to the “No No List”

Azodicarbonamide.  Caprocaprylobehenin.  Tertiary Butylhydroquinone.  Try saying that three times fast… well, that might not be so much fun after all.  Turns out you won’t have to suffer through the arduous pronunciations of the ingredients listed above, (and many, many others) when reading a Panera Bread menu.  In fact, the company has recently announced its elaborate plans to eliminate countless chemicals from the totality of its products by the final month of 2016 (Strom).

So what ignited this dramatic shift in the ingredients that Panera Bread will incorporate into its creations?  The Chief Executive of Panera Bread, Ron Shaich, stated quite matter-of-factly that “We’re trying to draw a line in the sand in the industry so that consumers have an easy way to know what’s in the food they buy.”  It certainly appears as though the consumer and her/his viewpoints, rather than the growing science on nutrition and health, is driving this decision to make serious cuts in the ingredients that Panera Bread uses.  To that end, Shaich went on to attest to the fact that “I’m not a scientist and I’m not wading into the debate over whether any of these things cause cancer or are otherwise bad for you.”  Additionally, Shaich further explained “I just think this is where the consumer’s head is right now,” referring to the increasing level of awareness and mounting education that consumers have concerning what exactly is inside the food that they consume (Strom).

Only time will tell whether or not the general public will get on board with the intense changes being made to Panera Bread’s menu.  Interestingly, multiple chemical ingredients used by Panera Bread a this moment in time are implemented into recipes because they ensure regularity from meal to meal.  There is no guarantee that products at Panera Bread will maintain their mainstream aesthetic quality without chemical preservatives.  Therefore, the Senior Quality Assurance Manager at Panera Bread, Sara Burnett, bluntly admitted “We don’t know how customers will react” (Strom).

What is your initial reaction to Panera Bread’s bold move to eliminate such a vast variety of chemicals and preservatives from its ingredient lists?

To view the entirety of the “No No List” (which spells out each ingredient, not just the three listed in the first paragraph of this post) check out this link:

https://www.panerabread.com/panerabread/documents/panera-no-no-list-05-2015.pdf

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Strom, Stephanie.  “Panera Bread Plans to Drop a Long List of Ingredients.”  New York Times  4 May 2015:  The New York Times Company.  Web.  19 May 2015. <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/05/business/panera-bread-plans-to-drop-a-long-list-of-ingredients.html?_r=0>

Happy Meals Make Me Unhappy

So here’s the deal: I do not just want to rain on the Happy Meals parade.  In general, I am not a huge fan of the majority of American children’s menus… not in the least.  And here’s why:

Is a serving of french fries equivalent to a serving of vegetables?

In this same way, can ketchup count as a serving of fruit?  Children’s menus in America are certainly trying to convince us that they can.  Unfortunately, these food options for kids often lack substantial portions of fruits and vegetables.  Unhealthy fats, sugars, and sodium replace the healthful benefits and bright flavors of fresh herbs.  They are just plain nutritionally deficient.

Besides the fact that these menus are unhealthy, they are also uninventive.  For instance, the typical options go something like this: hamburgers/cheeseburgers, cheese/pepperoni pizza, chicken fingers and french fries, and macaroni and cheese.  In my opinion, these offerings discourage kids from developing a palate.  Rather than trying to expand their culinary horizons, kids eat the same foods, made from the same ingredients (or chemicals) each time they go out to eat with their families.

Do Happy Meals make you unhappy?  Why or why not?  If given the opportunity, how would you take action to change American children’s menus?  Please let me know.

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Fast Facts on Fast Food… Explained!

Last week’s post included various statistics that demonstrated the depth and breadth of the world’s fascination and borderline addiction to the fast food industry.  The previous post also ended with a question, inquiring as to how these statistics speak to the grip that the fast food industry has on America’s food culture as well as consumers from all over the world.  In truth, the answer to this question is both intricate and complex, and probably cannot be answered in one blog post… (but I’m going to be Miss Optimistic and try my best)!  After you read the information, please don’t hesitate to comment and share your own thoughts/answer a few of the questions below about the fast food industry’s affect on our world.

Is efficiency or quality more important to you?

The fast food industry not only understands our innate desire for efficiency and increased speed, but they are also able to manipulate this craving we have for more time.  The drive-thru is probably the most ingenious manner in which the fast food industry has changed what it means to have a meal on the go.  Interestingly, in the United States alone, there are approximately 200,000 fast food restaurants that offer a drive-thru for their customers.  A consumer has the ability to remain in their car throughout the entire fast food experience, from ordering, to picking-up, to eating their purchased goods.  In thinking about how this changes our eating experience, it certainly seems as though fast food offers us all a “Meal-Free Meal.”  Now it is possible to consume an entire meal without a plate, without silverware, without a table, and most of the time, even without loved ones.  Fast food and its drive-thrus are without a doubt more convenient, yet the concept of fast food sacrifices the quality of the eating experience (Bratskeir).

Does the color blue intensify your appetite or does it detract from it?

The majority of people would respond to the question above by stating that the color blue detracts from their appetite.  The fast food industry is fully aware of this (Ronald McDonald wears a red and yellow suit for a reason)!  Therefore, they tailor each and every one of their marketing campaigns, advertising ploys, and sponsors to revolve around warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows), instead of cool colors (greens, blues, purples) to initially cultivate and then continually intensify a consumer’s desire for their product (Bratskeir).

Are children more vulnerable to fast food advertising methods than adults?

After conducting a study to decipher the quantity of food ads that children watch each day, the Yale Rudd Center has revealed that in 2013, children viewed about 13 food ads daily (Bratskeir).  This is approximately 4,745 food ads per year (Bratskeir)!  Time and time again, the fast food industry proves to have its grip on the pulse of culture (Horovitz).  Probably no better example of this is how the processed food industry has adapted its advertising strategies in order to keep up with the ways in which technology has changed the ways in which we communicate (Horovitz).  What was once a marketing strategy built entirely on television advertisements, the fast food industry has now expanded its advertising grip to social media and the Internet (Horovitz).  In fact, Ronald McDonald has his own website and “Ronaldgrams” (videos, photos, etc.) promote word of mouth information about the happenings in the fast food world (Horovitz).

Do you eat first with your eyes, or do you eat first with your nose?

Regardless of your answer, the fast food industry has made allowances so your eyes can like what they see and your nose can smell something appetizing before you order your meal.  “Aroma marketing” actually intensifies your body’s construction of a chemical called ghrelin which makes you feel hungry, quickly.  At the majority of fast food restaurants, a consumer orders their meal in the front of the store, while simultaneously smelling their food being cooked or fried in ovens or fryers much closer than they may appear.  Furthermore, billboard marketing and the massive expanses of hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes in advertisements also can often consume your mind, making it difficult to focus on anything but the billboard you just saw (Bratskeir).

I’ve always found consumption to be such a vivid indicator of a culture and its values.  The food and beverages that we choose to consume reveal who we are just as much as the music we listen to, the art we create, and the language we speak.  If we consume fast food to the degree that the statistics suggest, what does this say about what we value as a collective society?

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Bratskeir, Kate. “Six Not-So-Subtle Ways Fast Food Joints Make You Want To Eat At Their Restaurants.” Huffington Post June 2014: TheHuffingtonPost.com Incorporated, Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/16/fast-food-marketing_n_5366297.html>

Horovitz, Bruce. “Ronald McDonald is reaching out to kids online.” USA Today March 2011: Gannett Co. Incorporated, Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2011-03-31-ronald-mcdonald-goes-digital.htm>

Fast Facts on Fast Food

Did you know that according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation…

1.  500,000 plus is the total number of fast food chains/restaurants located on this Earth (Fast).

2.  157,000,000 is the number of instances per month that children ranging from the ages of six through fourteen consume food/beverages from fast food chains/restaurants (Fast).

3.  96% is the percentage of school aged children who are able to correctly identify a picture or photo of Ronald McDonald (McDonald’s “mascot”).  Interestingly, Santa Claus was the single individual to be correctly identified by a larger percentage of these same aged school children (Fast).

4.  $100 billion is the total sum of money that the American public spends on food/beverages from fast food chains/restaurants per year (Fast).

How do these statistics speak to the grip that the fast food industry has on America’s food culture as well as consumers from all over the world?

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

“Fast Food.” PAMF. n.d. Palo Alto Medical Foundation, 2015. Web. 17 Feb. 2015. <http://www.pamf.org/teen/health/nutrition/fastfood.html>

Controversial Coca-Cola Commercial

Shakespeare told us that “brevity is the soul of wit.”  I am telling you that brevity is the soul of this blog post due to studying for midterms!  One down and five more to go, hence this “brief” post.  Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts on Coca-Cola’s latest news.

Lately, Coca-Cola’s new TV commercial has been receiving much publicity in the news.  The main goal of the two minute ad is to shed light on the obesity epidemic in this country and also to publicize the things Coca-Cola has done to inform consumers about the soda that they’re drinking.  For instance, in the ad, Coca-Cola states that they have begun to showcase the calorie counts on the front of their soda cans.  This way, consumers don’t even have to turn the can to the back to read about the nutritional value.  Furthermore, Coca-Cola is suggesting that consumers control their portions of soda and they have started to increase the quantities of their smaller soda cans.

So I leave you with three questions…don’t forget to comment your answers!

1. Does Coca-Cola have a right to create a commercial spreading awareness about obesity when their product is one of this issue’s causes?

2. Should Coca-Cola only be showing the calorie counts of Coke on their soda bottles, or should other nutritional values be added, such as how much sugar their products have?

3. In your opinion, is what Coca-Cola  doing just more PR, or are they really trying to educate consumers?

Until Next Week…Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

References:

Strom, Stephanie. NYTimes. The New York Times Company. 2013. Web. 21 Jan. 2013.