Submitted by megan on Mon, 02/04/2008 - 22:13
Since its inception, The Blue Menu from President's Choice has sorta upset me, but my unease has been amorphous. Until today and the two bite brownies.
I always knew that the Blue Menu from President's Choice had to be at least a little bullshit. They talk a good game, right. More of: fibre, more omega-3. Lower: calories, sodium, fat. I'm not going to argue that.*
The website sets out their mandate: "Our great tasting PC Blue Menu products offer healthier options without sacrificing the flavours you love. The big blue menu on the front of each package shouts out why the product is a better choice so that making better choices is simple!"
Yeah, if your choice is other Two-Bite Brownies, for sure. The Blue Menu version is really pretty low in fat, considering - 54 calories from fat, which is less than 10% of recommended daily fat for a 2000 cal/day diet.
This is, of course, assuming you eat one serving as defined by PC: two small brownies. They don't come in a package of two. They come in a package of about 12. Perhaps people who work for President's Choice are better at controlling themselves than I am.
What really gets me is that these fuckers are nearly 37% sugar - 14 g of a 38 g serving. That's a fuck of a lot of sugar. The USDA recommends no more than 32 g of sugar per day for a 2000 cal diet.** So if you're only going to eat just over 4 of those brownies per day, you'll be fine. If you only eat two and read the labels on every thing else you eat to watch for hidden sugar, you'll be fine. If you don't drink pop or alcohol on the same day as you eat that one serving of brownies, you'll be fine.
So fine, whatever, there's lots of sugar in brownies. That's hardly a surprise. And Loblaws isn't lying. These brownies are healthier than other brownies. But come on. Their marketing team must know how easily humans slide from "the healthier choice" to "the healthy choice" to just grabbing the blue package from the baked goods shelf, and eating treble the serving amount because Hey, lookit, they're low in fat, it's a miracle what they can do with food these days.
What pisses me off is this: the bastards must know that people will be total suckers for junk food they can eat and feel less guilty about. Chips will always turn a faster buck than tinned tomatoes. There is a lot of potentially healthy stuff in the Blue Menu - canned vegetables with less salt, steel cut oats, etc. etc. - but if they're honestly serious about healthier choices, why does the Blue Menu even have "Cookies and Crackers" or "Frozen Desserts"?
Don't get me wrong. It's not that I think Loblaws shouldn't sell Cookies or Crackers or Desserts. And I don't think people have to go on no sugar, no fat, no fun diets to eat well and stay healthy. I just think it's wrong when companies work to fool people into thinking that an item patently unhealthy for you might just be the opposite if it's got a blue label slapped over its sweet sweet face.
*This is because I'm leaving Soy Protein off the list. I don't get why it, in and of itself, is on the same level as, say, more fibre and lower sodium. Especially considering some of the recent brouhaha about soy products. But that is not the axe for grinding gripped tight in my hands right now.
**It's a bit more complicated than that, which is why I included the link. Check p. 36.