Give Me the All-Natural Fat, Sugar, and Salt
Diet soda? No thanks. Slow-churned, low-fat ice cream? Give us the full-fat stuff. Bacon? Please. Himalayan pink sea salt? Sprinkle generously. More and more, American consumers are looking for all-natural fat, sugar, and salt in their foods. No more diet factory food for us.
Edy’s Grand full fat ice cream is up 10%, while their slow-churned, lower fat ice cream is down 5%. Beef jerky is flying off the snack food shelves, and bacon is the hot ingredient to pair with just about everything. Nothing captures the essence of current food trends better than a bacon and maple syrup chocolate bar from Scotland’s most celebrated chocolatier.
President Robert Kilmer of Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream explains consumer sentiments:
The new definition of modern health is very different from the traditional view, which was to reduce fat, sugar, and sodium. Healthy now is about what’s in my food and where did it come from.
A five-year-old sketch from Portlandia about getting to know the chicken you’ll be eating is looking more prescient than comedic today.
The trouble is that many of the claims driving consumer food choices have very fuzzy meanings when you look closely. FDA is working on what it means to claim that a food product is all-natural, but don’t expect that to happen quickly. Meanwhile the meaning of “all-natural” remains hotly disputed.
The Tampa Bay Times recently found that many of the farm-to-table claims made by restaurants were bogus. They served mainly to fatten restaurant profit margins, while doing nothing for local farmers. Florida blue crabs? They were actually from India.
The best advice is to take claims about a food’s healthfulness and virtue with a grain of that pink Himalayan sea salt. Enjoying simple, fresh foods in simple preparations is the best bet. You don’t need the permission of a health claim to enjoy good food in moderation.
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April 24, 2016