Monday, May 20, 2013

Modern Marketing, or Caveat Emptor/Buyer Beware

Read the Ingredients
In the interest of maintaining our health, we're been trying to cut down on chemical additives in our food.  But sometimes, we run out of luck without even knowing it.  My husband bought a box of cookies labeled "all natural," and they turned out to have both vanillin and mono- and di-glycerides in them.  I didn't do any better--the "all natural" cookies that I bought had sodium acid pyrophosphate in them.  Next time, maybe we should try organic.

Bricks vs. clicks
I just saved roughly $5 by buying a book online and having it delivered rather than buying it in person at a book store.  Yep, some modern retailers actually discriminate against people who do their shopping the old-fashioned way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're not discriminating against you. They have costs the online companies don't. It costs Amazon a lot less to have pallets of books in a warehouse at an airport than it does Barnes & Noble to have the warehouses and the stores.

And if it's a smaller bookseller, they don't have economies of scale, so it's even worse.

Don't get me wrong, I buy almost all my books online, it's just stupid to think it's discriminatory. It costs more to run a bricks and mortar store.

Tue May 21, 10:13:00 AM 2013  
Blogger The Physicist said...

Everything you just mentioned is natural, just not naturally occurring as an isolated chemical. A large chunk of all chemicals are naturally occurring, just not naturally isolated. They add it afterwards in higher levels than you would find it, but whether it is still 'natural' food depends on your definition. Organic food is to natural food what orthodox is to conservative Judaism.

Natural =/= healthy. It can, but it doesn't always. The perception that natural is somehow always healthier is a product of intensive marketing by the natural food industry, several legitimate food scares where companies were greedy and put bad stuff in their products, and the hippie movement which popularized growing your own food and eating natural (who themselves were the cause of the natural food industry's creation).

Tue May 21, 11:20:00 AM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"It costs more to run a bricks and mortar store."

You're right. I guess I just feel sorry for the bricks-and-mortar folks, and for the loss of a great place to discover books that one wouldn't have thought to read if one hadn't seen them on the shelf.

Physicist, an old friend of the family who's a health professional calls many current food ingredients "unpronounceables." I guess I just get creeped out by food ingredients that I can't identify without a microscope and/or a chemistry kit. Recommended reading: Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schosser. For the record, the book I just ordered is Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, by Michael Moss, a book that may or may not prove your point that all-natural is not necessarily healthier. In either case, I'm just trying to keep the doctor away.

Tue May 21, 05:06:00 PM 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Realistically, food is processed or not. Does it really matter if your MSG is developed in a lab from the chemical components or if you use Yeast Derived MSG and add it, it's the same chemical.

I mean, within processed food there are pure chemical things like food coloring and flavorings that are extra gross, but anything you buy processed has mostly the same junk... the natural derived junk or the chemically derived one is the same.

Tue May 21, 09:59:00 PM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

" . . . within processed food there are pure chemical things . . ."

The consumer has only a limited idea of what ingredients are purely chemical and which ones are derived from natural ingredients. Call me fussy, but I prefer to know what I'm eating.

Wed May 22, 02:32:00 PM 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point is, it doesn't matter, it's the SAME molecule.

You can take the pure chemical components, combine them, and have artificial MSG.

Or you can take yeast, and extract the IDENTICAL component as in #2, but call it "natural flavorings" since the molecule was FROM a natural source.

Once you've processed it to get a pure chemical for inclusion in food, the fact that it originated in something natural is irrelevant.

Now, the flavor components that MSG mimicks are available in natural sources (mushrooms, tomatoes, fish, meat are the most common), but that flavor is NOT chemically the same. In natural food sources, the flavor enhancers are combined with other parts of food. Your taste buds respond to both similarly, but your body digests it differently.

OTOH, Chemical MSG and "Natural Flavoring Yeast Extract MSG" are chemically identical. They are a vat of chemicals to be added to the food.

But by spending slightly more money to extract MSG from yeast, you can say "No MSG Added" and call it natural flavoring.

Thu May 23, 02:41:00 PM 2013  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Miami Al, have you been talking with my sister? She has multiple chemical sensitivities and reacts to practically everything under the sun, and she avoids "natural flavor" because she says it's just another word for MSG.

Thu May 23, 06:57:00 PM 2013  

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