Category Archives: Rants

More Food Marketing Rage

Last week I brought up my dislike of marketing and especially food marketing. Rage is probably the more appropriate term. But I was reminded of another example of food marketing gone awry while reading an article at The Atlantic: How Vegetable Oils Replaced Animal Fats in the American Diet.

And this reminded me of another article I had read at the Weston A Price Foundation, The Oiling of America

We’ve been dealing with anti-fat hysteria for several decades now in the United States. Everyone has heard “fat is bad” and done their part (if they care) to reduce the fat in our diets. Even food consumption statistics reflect this trend. We Americans are obeying the recommendations of cutting out fat.

But did you know that the anti-fat hysteria actually got a toe-hold in the very late 1890’s and early 1900’s? No joke! This is when the message of animal fat being bad for us started to circulate. You know, “arterycloggingsaturatedfat.” Animal fat bad. Oil good.

The message of animal fats being bad for our health started with the introduction of vegetable oils to the market, circa 1900-ish. And technically, it wasn’t a vegetable oil that entered the market, but cottonseed oil; essentially an agricultural waste product (which, when unrefined, apparently has a whole lot of bad things going for it, including being poisonous to animals and making men infertile… see the article in The Atlantic).

You’ve probably all tasted cottonseed oil… also known as Crisco. Yes, Crisco. That perfect substitute for lard and also a connoisseur of delightfully flaky pie crusts.

The Atlantic article covers some interesting ground about how Crisco came about, an effort by a young Proctor & Gamble to come up with a cheaper means of producing soap (because lard was the ingredient du jour for soap in those days and in high demand). Eventually they figured out that cottonseed oil worked well in soap-making, and created what we know as Ivory soap.

On a side not: Ivory was marketed as the first bar of soap to float. Now who knew soap didn’t float before this? Fascinating stuff!

Back to the main focus. Through some wizardry in a science lab P&G discovered you could also cook with cottonseed oil and soon they began marketing it as an alternative to cooking lard. They used all kinds of approaches to selling the white greasy goo and part of those efforts were to seize upon the idea that it was a healthier alternative to lard.

There wasn’t an authority existing to demand honesty in marketing practices so this statement went unchecked. Eat hydrogenated oils! It’s healthier than butter and lard! Of course, we now know hydrogenated oils are the worst thing you could be putting into your mouth. Trans saturated fats anyone?

Imagine with me, if you will, a world that rejected Crisco, a world that rejected the notion animal fat is bad for you. What would our nation’s health look like today? Would heart disease be the killer it is? Would we be as obese as we are?

Because a company, more than a century ago, hocked an agricultural waste product as a healthy food stuff, and began dismantling the long-standing tradition of animal fat as cooking medium, are we mired in a health crisis? Did P&G start a cascade of decisions and thought processes that rippled profoundly through our nation’s health, to our detriment?

This is why I despise food marketing. No matter how innocently it may (or may not) have started, something reckless was unleashed. It was a recklessness that made us doubt Mother Nature and her wholeness. It fostered a trust in manufacturing processes and an idea that you can improve on Mother Nature.

But it really hasn’t worked out so well for us or our health.


Dear Pepsi Co…

1 litre Aquafina bottle with the "chugger" or wide-mouth lid. LOVE. MISS YOU!

I’ve been a long-time drinker of Aquafina water… since my college day sin the 90’s. But not just any Aquafina water. My choice over any other option was Aquafina in the 1 liter bottle with the wide-mouth opening. I will henceforth refer to the wide-mouth on the Aquafina bottle as the “CHUGGER.”

LOVE.

I don’t know why, exactly, but I love the chugger. Maybe because I can chug the water so much more easily than every other stupid bottle with it’s dainty little sipper-mouth. For some reason, with those little mouths, I always end up dribbling water when I try to chug.

Yes, I’m odd. But back to the point…

Within the last 2 months I’ve noticed that Aquafina bottles in my region are no longer using the chugger.

WTF Pepsi Co?!?!?!

… you do realize that you’ve just taken away the ONLY thing that distinguished your water from any other bottled water out there, right? You’ve completely alienated me and my money. The chugger was the ONLY Pepsi product I ever purchased and now you’ve discarded the only lifeline you had to my wallet.

Ice Mountain, with their relatively new flip-cap, has become my bottled water of choice now that Aquafina has done away with the chugger.

Now? I’m an Ice Mountain girl. Granted, I have to buy 20 oz bottle to get their cool flip-cap, but the unique cap makes it easy to chug even though it’s a dainty mouthed bottle. Loving that feature now that I don’t have a choice about Aquafina.

Way to go Pepsi Co… I’m sure Ice Mountain and their flip-top lid thank you profusely.