Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, October 28, 2021

There is a spectre haunting your supermarket aisle — the spectre of “simple”:

The new marketing code word being used to boast about fewer ingredients: simple. From 2005 to 2008, there’s been a 64.7% increase in new products using the words “simple” or “simply” in the product or brand name, reports researcher Datamonitor.

In 2010, products that tout simplified labels will be more sought after than those clinging to the formerly hot buzzwords “organic” or “natural,” says [trends guru Lynn] Dornblaser.

At its simplest, simple sells.

“The food business has always been ingenious at turning any criticism into a new way to sell food to us,” says Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. The best-selling book popularized the notion of buying only foods with five or fewer ingredients. “As soon as you stress fewer ingredients, you’re implying that the food is healthy.”

Strength in fewer numbers, so to speak. There’s also the sense of transparency in your foodstuff. The typical run-on sentence of chemical additives found in processed foods is countered by this stripped-down simplicity.

But what good is it? Plenty of fatty foods are just as “simple”, and no less unhealthy due to the lack of preservatives. As usual, it’s purely perceptional:

At [a consumer focus group] gathering in San Francisco, one of Häagen-Dazs’ strongest markets, a panelist mentioned that when he shopped recently, he found himself comparing a bag of potato chips that had 20 ingredients with a bag that had three. He said the bag with the short list was the obvious choice.

Just another trend. Although I’m intrigued by how the further deconstruction of our munchies will manifest next. Will we soon be buying bags of mixed-together protein strands and vitamins? Bring it on…

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/28/2009 11:03 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food
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A couple of days ago, I picked up a new flavor of tea: A maté-citrus black tea blend. It’s labeled as “energizing”, presumably moreso than regular caffeine-chocked black tea.

I have to say I haven’t felt the energizing burst, despite drinking at least one cup of this brew every day for nearly a week. It certainly wakes me up, but no more so than any other black tea. The flavor variety alone is worth the switch-up, but beyond that, I’m not feeling any added zip.

Mentioning this, someone told me that the maté rush comes only if you drink it every day for a prolonged period, so I simply haven’t been drinking it long enough yet. I’m pretty sure that’s nonsense. What’s more, I know how that notion came about: Because maté drinkers tend to be fanatical about the beverage, they wind up drinking it all the time. In South American countries, it’s the national drink, so it’s a virtual water substitute. So the theory sprouted up that copious intake was the only way maté’s effects worked, because that’s how regular drinkers take it anyway.

As for me, I’ll certainly finish this box that I bought. No rush to replenish it after that, though.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/28/2009 09:10 AM
Category: Food, Society
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