Friday, December 16, 2011

Blatent Health-Washing By Back To Nature

Back To Nature, a division of Kraft Foods, is a company whose products sit in what I call the 'pseudo-organic' isle of my grocery store. You know the isle where the store keeps Kashi and Annie's Cheddar Bunnies. These brands aren't necessarily healthy, they aren't necessarily non-processed and they may or may not contain organic ingredients. These brands may or may not contain GMOs. They may or may not contain the same amount of added sugars as normal products. What these brands do have in common is the use of health-washing in their brand marketing.

When I choose to buy a processed product (i.e.-anything that comes in a box), I look for a couple of things (not necessisarily in order of importance): 1) Are the grains listed as 100% whole grains? 2) Does the product contain soy or corn products? 3) Does the product contain chemical preservatives, or added flavors or colorings? 4) Is the product labeled organic? 5) Do I feel that the manufacturer made the product in a similar way that I would make it in my own home? When I answer these questions I get a better sense of the product. I prefer to buy products that are Non-GMO, whole, contain nothing artificial, and aren't "formulated" in a way to manipulate me. These are GUIDING PRINCIPLES, not hard and fast rules. But I like being informed.

I make a really ridiculous party dip which I will share with you next week. This weekend I was looking for some crackers to serve with this dip. I wish Ak-Mak made dip sized crackers, but they don't. I took a look at these Back to Nature crackers. I loved what I saw on the front cover!! Three ingredients! Because of the impressively short list of ingredients I was willing to buy this product even though it was not labeled as organic AND I knew it would contain white flour.

Then I flipped over the box and saw this

I feel strongly that to list three ingredients on the front of the box is like bragging to the customer 'Look at my impressive ingredient list!!' But then to not actually have an impressive ingredient list, well, that feels like manipulative marketing in my opinion. Although also in my opinion, Back to Nature products are slightly better than most of the other stuff Kraft Foods puts out. They don't use hydrogenated oils or artifical ingredients and their ingredient lists are shorter. But the products aren't significantly better. The products still could not be made in my own kitchen, yet they cost almost as much as other less processed organic products. Why would I choose to buy this product except for the marketing?

I have mentioned it before, I am not anti-capitalist. I am not an anarchist. I am not going to boycott foods that come from Kraft or Nestle just because they come from Kraft or Nestle. My decision not to buy Back to Nature is solely because I think that it is a mediocre product wrapped in a health-washed package. The ingredient list tells me that the product is mediocre. Their packaging is trying to tell me otherwise.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but damnit, it is still a pig.

This post is shared with Fight Back Fridays and Real Food Wednesdays


  1. So many of the claims being made are concerning. How about a list of crackers and snacks that would make your list?

  2. I am seriously loving this post! There's nothing better than exposing the truth! This is so inspirational and loaded with information. I think my subscribers would really enjoy reading this. I would love for you to come share it at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on Frugally Sustainable ( I really hope that you will put Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on your list of carnivals to visit and link to each Wednesday!

    Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable
    Here's the link:

  3. Excellent post!!! I love to eat biscuits after my fitness workouts . I liked these because of their strong and healthy ingredients.

  4. ive been eating 2 boxes of this stuff!!! lol and i just bought 2 more! thanks for showing me the light. im here thinkings its healthy the whole time. lol many thanks again