Let’s talk about food marketing, and how companies trick people into believing that one particular thing is more healthier than another.
In this post I am comparing two different brands of potato chips, let’s not think about the fact that it is potato chips. If you want to eat good fats and a fibre rich diet potato chips are probably not the way to go. But I just wanted you to get an idea of how it works.
I found this one at a friend’s place and I was just blown away by all the claims it has on the front. Someone would easily believe that this one would be a healthier option compared to other brands.
First of all:
Gluten free – this is a marketing strategy a lot of companies use. I went to a café the other day and a cake said ”low gluten”, what even is that? Are they thinking: it’s just one little table spoon of flour, so that makes it less gluten? It Does Not Work That Way. It’s either gluten in it, or it’s not. There’s No in-between.
Anyway. Who knew that potatoes are gluten free? Who knew that potatoes are natural?
And 90% less saturated fat than what? Are they comparing it to a specific oil? Because, for example, both sunflower oil and olive oil are predominantly monounsaturated fats. Or are they comparing it to butter?
And then I absolutely love the top left corner ”no hidden nasties” – and then we turn the bag over…
Most ”original” potato chips contain three ingredients – potatoes, an oil and salt. This bag only contains 60% of potatoes – and it also contains sugar! I would call that a hidden nastiness, wouldn’t you? The sugar they have probably only added to make it taste better. But other brands that you might think are ”unhealthier” than this one do not contain any sugar at all.
People often don’t know what to look for when they read food labels. So let’s break it down for you: the ingredient list always starts with the ingredient that is of the greatest amount in that particular food. For example – when I go to buy a ”healthy” bar for example, I wouldn’t normally pick one that has golden syrup, fructose or something similar as an ingredient on top of the list – it’s still a sugar. I would pick something with a nut as the first ingredient, or something like oats, which is a good base for a bar.
When looking at the nutrition information where all the information regarding the amount of energy, protein, different type of fats etc. – Look at the 100 g column, because that makes it easier to compare it to other brands. Because serving sizes may vary depending on the brand.
I don’t have a good picture of the nutrition information of this particular bag – but it contained, for example, 7.3 g of sugar per 100 g, whereas Smith’s potato chips, another big brand here in Australia, had 1.0 g of sugar per 100 g. The Sodium content of Smith’s was also lower, but not that significant. However, the Smith’s bag didn’t say how much dietary fibre it contained – the bag in the pictures above contained 4.2 g of dietary fibre – which is good. The higher the fibre content, the better.
The Smith’s chips were made out of sunflower oil and canola oil, they did have higher saturated fat content – but not that much. They did, however, also contain greater amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats compared to the ”healthy” one, which is much better! It is important to look at the nutrition information – people are often too scared of fat. The one type of fat that people should be aware of is trans fat. The ”healthy bag” contained 0.1 g, hardly anything. But Smith’s had 0.0 g. And people should be aware of this because trans fat are associated with different health issues, such as heart disease, which is why it is recommended to keep the intake as low as possible. Trans fats are often found in chips, store bought cakes etc.
The Smith’s chips were however higher in energy. But when I eat chips, I’m just gonna eat whatever chips I want to. If a person is mainly focusing on losing weight, the chips would probably not be included in their diet anyway.
I’m not saying that you should go and get a bag of chips now just because one is is better than the other one, I just wanted to show you how food marketing works. By just looking at the front of the bag isn’t enough to keep you informed about what is actually in the bag. Turn it over and look at the ingredients, how many ingredients does it contain? What does it contain?
I hope this helped you a little bit, and if you’ve got any questions just let me know!