Saturday, March 31, 2012

I See What You Did There

So today started off normal. I got up, eventually ate some breakfast. Some cereal.

And I'm sitting there, nomming my foods, just glancing over the box, when this catches my eye.

More whole grain, than any other ingredient. Noticing the "*", and being the analytically minded person I am, I started turning the box all around until I spotted this.

It's just a statement that restates what most of us already know about ingredient labeling. Ingredients are labeled in order based on the amount in the food. Okay, so General Mill's Chex cereal has Whole Grain as the main ingredient. This is pretty much a given for Chex cereals. So at first I'm like, "okay, no big deal, they're just making sure people see that on the front of the box instead of relying on them to turn to the ingredients listing."
(By the way, I recommend always checking the ingredients on everything you buy. Always.)

But then I looked at this again, and in a new light. They're not just making sure people can see the main ingredient from the front. Look again at the first and second images. At a distance, the word "ingredient*" is hard to even spot. Close up, it's still very small compared to all the rest of the text. And when you look at the area where they explain the footnote "*", it's not only on a small side, but it's in even smaller text.

General Mills is not selling on the premise that their food uses whole grains as the main ingredients (which, by the way, can mean even less than 50%, so long as there's more "whole grain rice" compared to "regular rice").

General Mills is selling on the unclaimed premise that their cereal has "more whole grains than any other," cereal.

That's shady, GM. That's shady.
If it wasn't so damn tasty, I would boycott.
And I totally see what you did there.