Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2 Billion Pop-Tarts A Year

Why am I upset that 2 billion pop-tarts a year are eaten by Americans, 60% of them by children? Because by my definition, pop-tarts can barely be considered to be a food. Certainly, pop-tarts could sustain life if no other source of calories were
available but why choose a clearly a low- quality product when there are many authentically nutritious and delicious whole foods readily available which do not require a single label to explain or describe what they are actually made of?

Kellogg's "Whole Grain Strawberry Toaster Pastry" contains more than thirty three ingredients (I lost count trying to tally up the entire list), the first ten of which are whole wheat flour, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, enriched flour, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated cottonseed oil,dextrose, corn syrup solids, and sugar. The "whole grains" and "strawberries" are far down the list, and represent a mere fraction of the actual substance of the pop-tart, which is simply a rectangle of "whole wheat" flour held together by high fructose corn syrup & hydrogenated vegetable oils, and sprinkled with artificial flavorings, colorings, and additives.

The pop-tart is an iconic example of the brilliant marketing savvy of the processed food industry; developed in 1964, it is Kellogg's best selling brand. Conveniently and attractively packaged and portable, with its reassuring promise of fruit and whole grains and positioned as a fun nutritious breakfast food for kids, no wonder it has reached sales of 2 billion a year. Is anyone still puzzled by the steep rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes in both children and adults in America?