Sunday, August 18, 2013

little observation

When I last lived in the USA, about four years ago, the Corn Refiners Association was running a series of TV ads that sought to convince the public that high fructose corn syrup is a legitimate, natural foodstuff and "fine in moderation". The ads showed happy couples and families having a throwaway conversation about health risks before agreeing that it's just like sugar so we might as well eat the ice lollies. While utterly failing to address the politics of the corn subsidy, the ecological and economic impacts of maize-based bio-diesel, the fact that at the time it was difficult to only consume HFCS in moderation because it was in absolutely everything, from bread to cheese to fishsticks, or the fact that it tastes like metal, the corn refiners' marketing team did make an attempt to assuage consumers' concerns about their products and show that they were listening. 

Based on what I saw in American grocery stores a few weeks ago, I was amused to discover just how ineffective the corn refiners' reassurances were. A few years ago you only saw labels like "made with NO HFCS, MSG or artificial colours!" in organic grocery stores and the token frou-frou aisle of the supermarket. Now it's everywhere, and it's all the big companies. All sorts of popular ready-made items proudly declare on their packaging "We Took It Out! We Listened!" Well, more like we reached the point where the reduction in sales was no longer offset by the price of the ingredients! While we might have not been listening, we eventually heard you. Please come back!

No comments: