New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Great American Supermarket Game - Misleading Labeling Game & Dissonance Mind Game

The Misleading Labeling Game

Just remember that here in the U.S. “natural” and “fresh” have NO legal definitions.  However, “fresh” is generally considered any item under 5 weeks from harvest to point of sale.  The term “local” has a federal meaning of up to 400 miles from point of harvest, however most local farmers consider 20-50 miles as truly local.

Also keep in mind that the use of various chemicals, gases and GMO’s are NOT required to be listed on the label.  This means we can inadvertently be eating chemicals that we don’t wish to consume.  In some cases, like with fresh produce, all we have to do is wash the chemical off the item before we eat it.  In too many other cases the chemical(s) have been absorbed by the produce, dairy or meat item and cannot be washed off.

Good source of” may mean “bad for you”: You’ll see the claim “good source of” on cereals, crackers, and Pop-Tarts. The thing is, rarely are these vitamins worth the calories they’re embedded in. They’re usually just run-of-the-mill vitamins that processors are required to add to enriched flour—vitamins that can actually wash off your cereal the minute you add milk to it!

Lightly sweetened” could mean “sugar overload”:  This is another term that’s completely unregulated, so processors use it however they please. In Smart Start, that means 14 grams of sugar per cup. That’s more than Fruit Loops.

“Natural” doesn’t mean squat:  Outside of meat and seafood, the word “Natural” when applied to foods is completely unregulated and has no legal definition. So when you see 7Up Natural, a loaf of “natural” bread, or a product that claims to be “made with natural sugar,” that doesn’t really mean anything.

Reduced fat” may make you fat:  Sometimes, the full fat version of a product is more nutritious. Cookies and crackers often claim to contain “a third less fat than the original.” But that fat hasn’t just vanished—it’s been replaced by extra doses of sugar, starch, and sodium. They might have dropped the fat from 4 to 3 grams, but they’re hitting you with 2 grams extra sugar and 300 mg extra sodium.

“Zero grams of trans fat” may include trans fat:  Some products carry the “Zero grams of trans fat” claim when they do, in fact, contain trans fats. The FDA allows this claim as long as the food contains less than half a gram per serving. But serving size is whatever the food marketer wants it to be. So if the processor claims that, say, a serving is one cookie, you could easily get 3 full grams of trans fats by eating 6 “no trans fat” cookies. If you see “partially hydrogenated oil” on the ingredient statement, rest assured that it contains trans fat.

Don’t be ’100 %’ misled:  Drinks may be labeled ‘100% pure juice’, but that doesn't mean they're made exclusively with the advertised juice.  Take Tropicana Pure 100% Juice Pomegranate Blueberry, for example. Pomegranate and blueberry get top billing here, even though the ingredient list reveals that pear, apple and grape juices are among the first four ingredients. These juices are used because they're cheap to produce and they're very sweet—which means you're likely to come back for more.

The Dissonance Mind Game

In-store food marketing can and does influence our food-purchasing behaviors.  Let’s face it; most of our supermarket buying is habitual.  We don’t tend to put a lot of cognitive effort into the purchase of most of our brands.  We mostly choose from the same brands week after week.  So to convert us (or get us to change brands), supermarkets like to create dissonance in our mind. They do this by using ‘cues’ such as specials, price changes and the use of color.  Red, for example, is the most noticeable color in the spectrum, yellow and gold have been shown to bring on salivation and hunger (perhaps because of its links to the color of fried food), while blue is said to promote trust.

Think that cold supermarkets are just a fluke?  Think again!  When the temperature is just a shade above making the average human shiver with cold chills or get goose bumps – we humans get hungrier and when we are hungrier we buy more.  If we are hungry when we go shopping – we buy more!

Next time the Store Design and Layout Game

To all those on the East Coast - Hang in there, my church group collected and sent a number of items your way.  If your preps were up to date you are doing OK, otherwise my prayers go out to you ;-}


Keep On Preppin'

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