Monday, February 7, 2011

Misleading Food Packaging

"It happens every time, they all become blueberries."
- Willy Wonka
When I buy a cookbook (which is very rare now-a-days with recipes on the Internet) I want a book with lots of food photographs. I react to the photo with either, yum, I must cook that, or , nah, not interested. Naturally marketers of foods exploit this. They put the best possible picture on the box or label to make your mouth water. I blogged about this at http://perpetualpreparedness.blogspot.com/2009/08/food-photography.html

I was reminded of this with NPR's story about fake blueberries, . The muffin mix box may show a muffin with plump, healthy, blueberries but the label lists blueberry flavored crunchlets. What is a blueberry crunchlet? They typically consist of various sugars and starches coated with food dye to make them look like blueberries.

When Kellog was asked, they responded that everything is "labeled in compliance with applicable laws and regulations."  No mention of course about faking out customers with misleading product photos.

Bottom Line

With product photos, what you see is never what you get. At worst the photo is fake; at best it's an idealized version of the product.

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