Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the Organic conspiracy

I think I'm onto something. The other day i was at Safeway, comparing breads, comparing prices, and I came across an odd dichotomy. For those readers who may not be aware, Safeway has its own organic food line, called "O" Organics. For organic its mediocre, but at least they're trying. Anyway, I picked up a loaf of the Safeway Selects brand whole grain bread and looked at the ingredients list. After "enriched bleached flour" there wasn't actually anything I could pronounce. All sorts of "partially hydrogenated" this and "high-maltose" that, with plenty of Xs and Zs to baffle the vocabulary of even second-place spelling bee contestants. I put it down, disgusted, and picked up the O Organics variety, and found an ingredients list I could appreciate. Whole grain this, all-natural that...for twice the price of the other subset of the same parent company.

which got me thinking.

Does anyone else suspect that food manufacturers are doing this on purpose? Making the "regular" type of food so jam-packed with artificial ingredients and petroleum-based emulsifiers that its Entirely inedible, so as to force the consumer to purchase the higher-priced natural or organic option? There's absolutely no reason for bread makers to put That much garbage into their dough except to make another option more attractive. Its like selling pantyhose with runs in them for what you might consider a reasonable price, while selling the intact version for double. It generates a feeling in the purchaser of "well if that's what it costs broken, i guess its not unreasonable to pay a bit more for something useful." We assume, wrongly, that the corporation is willing to sell the holy pantyhose at a loss in order to get rid of them, and the good tights are sold for suggested retail value. But they're selling the trash for a reasonable price so as to justify the mark-up on the products we actually want!

I admit. I lived in Berkeley for a while. Everything in that area is organic, or at very least natural, and if its neither its sold in the trash grocery stores that nobody really shops at. Good local produce is reasonably priced and bountifully available. All-natural bread is sold by the heap for a pittance. Cereal doesn't have to include high-fructose corn syrup! There are options besides $4.00 tofu and stale granola! But now I am in the middle of the country where nobody expects that, and if you want it you've got to be willing to pay to ship it. People pay hard-earned money to buy canned stench that makes my nose bleed because some asshole company's marketing department has convinced folks that they want it. People buy mononitrate diglyceride sodium laurel and/or laureth sulfate partially hydrogenated cottonseed and/or canola oil-infused breads because for some bizarre reason its cheaper now in our better-life-through-chemistry economy. And the folks who actually bother to read the back before they bite in are going to just have to pay more for being a smartass. Well excuse me for not wanting to eat soap. The Man wants me to pay more to not store non-digestible plastic products in my abdomen? When did THIS become a concern? WHEN THE HELL DID REAL FOOD BECOME A LUXURY ITEM?????

No, thank you, i don't want day-glo orange lab-created UHP artficially flavored dairy-free powdered cheese product on my chlorine-bleached wheat-germ-extract-and-talc-based French-style bread product, nor would I like any 0% juice blue raspberry flavored high-dextrose corn syrup sweetened beverage to go with it. I just want a beer.


Ben said...

It is indeed rather sucky, over here we don't get the long names on the back of food packaging - not because we eat organicky food but because the european union gives all of those additives e-numbers, like 'E462' or the like, after checking that they aren't poisonous.

This is why I prefer to eat roadkill and insects - it's healthier.

'Holy Pantyhose' sounds like a relic of the transvestite messiah, who was of course covered up, davinci code stylee, by the vatican.

PartyingMyPants said...

mmmmm...artficially flavored dairy-free powdered cheese product