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Snackademics: Food Labeling Ep. 87

It’s time for an education on food labels.  We aren’t talking about the unimportant labels like nutrition and calorie content. No. We mean those super important marketing labels that help make us believe these foods are delicious.  “Homestyle,” “homemade,” “natural” “chef-crafted,” and more. What do they all mean? They mean poppy-cock. That’s what…

Food label Quiz – Fill in the blank – We found some food labels language worth examining. Can you decipher the real label? (next to the red arrow) and choose the right answer?  Ignore the apparent size/shape of the smudged wording. We are expert photoshopppers and masked it well.

ANSWERS at the bottom of the page (with some insightful commentary) – check out Episode 87 for more mind blowing insight from the incomparable Rod and Hugh. If you see a hyperlink, check out our review.

1. Yoo-Hoo Chocolate “_______”

a) “Milk”

b) “Non-dairy”

c) “Drink”

 

 

 

2. Mini Babybel Mozzarella “_______”

a) “Wheel”

b) “Style”

c) “Cheese product”

 

 

3. The “_______” Crispy Chicken Sandwich from BK

a) “Extra”

b) “New”

c) “Homestyle”

 

 

4. Black Forest Gummy Bears – middle label states “_______”

a) “Made with Real Fruit Juice”

b) “Now with Green Apple!”

c) “Gelatin rendered from only free range horse bones & hooves”

 


5. Kettle Brand Moscow Mule Potato Chips label states “_______”

a) “Non –GMO Project Verified”

b) “Flavored with Stevia”

c) “Contains less than .05% insect parts”

 

 

6. The “_______” Cracker Tub (TM)

a) “Original”

b) “Lil’ Bitz”

c) “Classic”

 

 

 

7. Chiquita Banana “_______”

a) “Win your own fruit hat!”

b) “Potassi-tastic!”

c) “Bop it!”

 

8. Mtn. Dew Kickstart – Electrolytes “_______”

a) “Not a significant form of hydration”

b) “For taste”

c) “It’s what plants crave”

 

 

 

9. Sweet and Saucy Barbecue Rib Popcorn

a) “With Real Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce”

b) “Naturally Flavored”

c) “Naturally and Artificially Flavored”

 

 

 

10. Starbucks “_________” Bacon Cheddar & Egg

(a) “Double-Smoked”

(b) “Triple Thick Cut”

(c) “Quadruple Crispy”

 

 

 

 

11. Dash Gas Station The Boss “_______” Sandwich

(a) “Meat-Muenster Mutant”

(b) “Chef-Crafted”

(c) “Gourmet-Style”

 

 

 

 

12. 20oz Soft Drinks 3/$4 Excludes “_______”

(a) “Mutant”

(b) “Monster”

(c) “Seltzer”

 

13. Publix Organic Spinach “_________”

(a) “Washed”

(b) “Double Washed”

(c) “Triple Washed”

 

 

14. Sweetened “_______” Old Fashioned Firehouse Southern Tea

(a) “Zero Calorie”

(b) “Confederate Style”

(c) “With Cane Sugar”

THE ANSWERS

 

Yoo-Hoo Chocolate “_______”

a) “Milk”

b) “Non-dairy”

c) “Drink”

We looked and didn’t see any legal prohibition on calling it milk, which was surprising at first. The Dairy lobby is powerful. But then again… think about soy “milk,” or almond “milk.”  With Yoo-hoo, we think, not being called milk is intentional and its greatest marketing strength.  Hugh is a big fan of Yoo-hoo, and recalls in his youth being pitched Yoo-hoo as better than chocolate milk because it’s not so thick and “gloppy,” in your throat. He’s been hooked ever since. Check out our Yoo-hoo chugging challenge  in Episode 74.

Mini Babybel Mozzarella “_______”

a) “Wheel”

b) “Style”

c) “Cheese product”

It’s not really Mozzarella?  Why must it merely be Mozzarella “sytle?” Is cheese Like Champagne? – to be called mozzarella it needs to be done a certain way?  In a certain place?  We looked in the Hungry Dads fridge for some generic store brand shredded mozzarella and it says just “mozzarella” with no qualifier.  If they don’t have to claim “style,” why does Babybel care?  Any cheesemongers in our audience, please write in and tell us.

The “_______” Crispy Chicken Sandwich from BK

a) “Extra”

b) “New”

c) “Homestyle”

Was this thing new? According to BK’s marketing folks, they were responding to chatter that their chicken sandwiches were “gross.”  They purport new breading process and higher quality chicken. But to my taste test, it seemed pretty much the same – and didn’t look quite as good as its ad version. Chicken sandwiches are “trending” in NYC thanks to one put out by Shake Shack that is surely overhyped. Guess BK wants in.

Black Forest Gummy Bears – middle label states “_______”

a) “Made with Real Fruit Juice”

b) “Now with Green Apple!

c) “Gelatin rendered from only free range horse bones & hooves”

Gummy Bears “made with REAL FRUIT JUICE” – is this supposed to tell me that gummy bears are sort of healthy? Or that juice isn’t all that healthy?  How much fruit juice do they need to add to qualify this claim?

And an answer to the asterisks’ conspiracy…

Kettle Brand Moscow Mule Potato Chips label states “_______”

a) “Non –GMO Project Verified”

b) “Flavored with Stevia”

c) “Contains less than .05% insect parts”

Also note the gluten free label. This is a play to try to make the potato chips look like health food, right? It kinda works. That butterfly is very ethereal and weightless, much like I will feel after eating a bag of their chips. All nice and good, but don’t forget that Kettle paid to have that label. From the Non-GMO Project website about getting verificaiton, “The cost varies depending on how many products you wish to submit for verification…” So this was an expense that Kettle baked into their “Moscow Mule” chip, in order to convince you that it’s at least natural, and perhaps even a little good for you.

The “_______” Cracker Tub

a) “Original”

b) “‘Lil Bitz”

c) “Classic”

The Original?! – We see the word “original” in other places like Skittles, meaning, the original flavors – not “tropical” or whatever.  But here, what’s so original.  This one is Sour Cream and Onion so that’s not what they mean. The Original Cracker Tub? Do we really think there is an original? If so, do we think Global Brands (Product of India) are the originators of putting crackers in a tub? They must be. They have a trademark right there on the name.  Is this a play at Cracker Barrel?

Chiquita Banana “_______”

a) “Get your own fruit hat!”

b) “Potassi-tastic!”

c) “Bop it!”

A toy advertisement on my fruit?  Cross promotion has no boundaries. But, in all honesty, it doesn’t really bother us.  We haven’t felt compelled to buy a Bop-it though.

Mtn. Dew Kickstart – Electrolytes “_______”

a) “not a significant form of hydration”

b) “For taste”

c) “It’s what plants crave”

d) What does an electrolyte taste like? Salt I think. Mountain Dew clearly thought putting the word “electrolytes” was a good word to put on their can in big letters. They didn’t have to do that. They must’ve thought people liked electrolytes.  If you don’t understand option (c), check out the cult classic film Idiocracy.  I would almost have believed that Mountain Dew would use the tagline “It’s what plants crave,” in a cross promotional opportunity – its got more synergy than Bop It.  Debatably better than the Superbowl commercial puppymonkeybaby.

Sweet and Saucy Barbecue Rib Popcorn

a) “With Real Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce”

b) “Naturally Flavored”

c) “Naturally and Artificially Flavored”

So there, they can claim that BBQ popcorn was “Naturally Flavored.” And not “naturally and artificially” flavored. How? Why? Let me allow the FDA to answer from  FDA.gov: (in sum, anything that is not defined as “artificial” may be called “natural.”  And a section of code defines “artificial” as, things that are NOT “derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof.” Still don’t get it? Read more below.

Starbucks “_________” Bacon Cheddar & Egg

(a) “Double-Smoked”

(b) “Triple Thick Cut”

(c) “Quadruple Crispy”

Maybe this means a double dump of liquid smoke in the pink slime from which the bacon is made? (actually, pink slime is probably a myth, but we choose to believe).

Dash Gas Station The Boss “_______” Sandwich

(a) “Meat-Muenster Mutant”

(b) “Chef-Crafted”

(c) “Gourmet-Style”

The Gas station Chef?

20oz Soft Drinks 3/$4 Excludes “_______”

(a) “Mutant”

(b) “Monster”

(c) “Seltzer”

If you see this sign, ask the cashier what mutant is. See if they know. It’s a fun game.

Publix Organic Spinach “_________”

(a) “Washed”

(b) “Double Washed”

(c) “Triple Washed”

Why not Quadruple wash? How exactly do they do multipole washes? Does it go in multiple bings? What liquids are used? Water? Anything else? Could somebody help me out? Because I’d like to know!!!

Sweetened “_______” Old Fashioned Firehouse Southern Tea

(a) “Zero Calorie”

(b) “Confederate Style”

(c) “With Cane Sugar”

Is cane sugar supposed to be healthier? (Hint: its not)

* They further state: “From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.”  The FDA Requested Comments from the public on Use of the Term “Natural” on Food Labeling back in May 2016 – there are thousands posted. Some professional and some just regular people.

The FDA has considered the term “natural” to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic  (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.  However, this policy was not intended to address food production methods, such as the use of pesticides, nor did it explicitly address food processing or manufacturing methods, such as thermal technologies, pasteurization, or irradiation. The FDA also did not consider whether the term “natural” should describe any nutritional or other health benefit. 

TITLE 21–CHAPTER I– SUBCHAPTER B– PART 101 — FOOD LABELING  (a)(1) The term artificial flavor or artificial flavoring means any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof. Artificial flavor includes the substances listed in 172.515(b) and 182.60 of this chapter except where these are derived from natural sources.

 

octoberfest, snacks, reviews, robot, food reviews, snacktoberfest

Snacktoberfest – Episode 51

What do you get when you combine Octoberfest, Snack Reviews, and cutting edge robot podcasting technology? Episode 51, that’s what. PODBOT 3000!!!! NEED WE SAY MORE??? We do? Then listen to the episode.