Every time I see unhealthy, fatty, salty and/or sugary products being promoted as healthy, I am indignant and it makes me angry. Indignant, because it is apparently allowed. Angry because it doesn’t help us in the wish/need to take good care of ourselves and live healthy.
TV commercials by Pringles in which the vegetables fly around your ears. Come on, people, these are paprika-flavoured chips! Zonnatura, Bertolli, FruitKick Extra, Blue Band Good Start white bread, Hero fruit breakfast and Mona Yoki drink: all examples of products with misleading information on packaging. McDonalds recommends “meals that make you Happy” for 3.95 euros, with a bottle of water included in the price. This is called image building. I call it hypocritical.
Selling products is only possible if you can create the right ‘experience’ for the product. And that experience doesn’t have to have anything to do with the actual content of the suit, the pot, the box, the bottle or the bag. To quote Teun van de Keuken, journalist for the TV programme “To experience clutter as quality, that’s the real work of food giants”.
Healthy and conscious choice? 0% fat? Don’t be fooled!
Did you know that logos such as Healthy Choice and Conscious Choice say something about the product category to which the product belongs? No? Missed opportunity, because if you had read very well you could have known. But the food industry doesn’t mind that you don’t know. No, they like it, because the logo ensures that the product sells better. And a product that is sold brings in money. And that money can then be put into ingenious marketing campaigns to get us to buy products that we think are healthy, but that our body and mind don’t need at all to function properly.
The turnover of these products could also be stopped by reducing additives (e-numbers), salt, fat and sugar in the products. But they don’t, because that is at the expense of taste. And less taste = less sales = less turnover.
But, will you now perhaps think “I regularly see 0% fat on a package, don’t you? And products without fat are good, aren’t they?” So no! At least, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the product contains fewer calories or is healthier. Not at all. The ‘lack’ of fat taste is compensated for by adding sugar, salt and/or flavour enhancers. After all, less taste = less sales = less turnover.
Diseases of prosperity
Not knowing what we eat makes us fat and sick. Thanks to the clever, recruiting advertising slogans on packaging, we receive more calories and e-numbers (the long-term impact of which is insufficiently known) than we are aware of. The number of vitamins in these types of products is often many times lower than the information on the packaging suggests. Welfare diseases such as (childhood) obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer have their origins in our poor eating habits today. Poor purchasing and cooking habits that we can hardly ignore because we do most of our shopping in the supermarket, quickly, in between all the other activities and responsibilities.
Do your shopping with attention and help yourself to choose more healthily and consciously.
What to do? Do your shopping with attention. Learn about the origins of purchases and the (underlying) meaning of logos, slogans, colours and information on products. For inspiration, take a look at and be amazed at how we are being misled and lied to by the food industry. Only by finding out what the texts on packaging really mean will you be able to make healthy and more conscious choices yourself.
Don’t rely on fine advertisements or slogans on packaging, but read the nutrition declaration.
This is because it states the actual calorific value, including information about the nutrients present in the product. This label is often printed in very small letters, so don’t forget your reading glasses or magnifying glass when you go to the supermarket.
Finally, a product without a label does not have a label for nothing; it does not need it. It is what it is. Already is nothing what it seems…