by Sean Croxton
Check this one out…
In the UK, food products containing petroleum-derived dyes require warning labels due to research linking certain shades of yellow to odd behaviors like children bouncing off of walls and running with scissors.
So to avoid having to slap a “you’re a bad parent if you buy me” sticker on one of their best selling products, Kraft Foods went out of its way to cook up a special dye-free version of their Mac & Cheese for their UK customers.
But here’s where it gets weird. Despite being fully aware of the hyperactivity problems linked to the chemical additives lurking inside of their Spongebob-by boxes of neon macaroni evidently marketed to children, Kraft kept peddling them here in the States.
Sounds pretty darn yellow, if you ask me.
From what I hear, put side-by-side in a lineup the reformulated UK version and the crack-for-kids American model are pretty much like twins, virtually identical in appearance and taste.
When a couple of my favorite real foodie bloggers, Vani Hari and Lisa Leake, took action and gathered over 250,0000 signatures from concerned customers demanding that Kraft remove all artificial dyes from their mac and cheese products, the company crossed their arms and refused to budge. Evidently we Americans can handle our yellow dye #5 better than our friends across the pond.
Yet Kraft’s refusal to listen its own customers was met head-on by an internet-orchestrated boycott of their products.
If the company didn’t want to change the color of their cheese, the next step was to start messing with their cheddar (that’s slang for money). In the end, money talks.
Late last year, Kraft, feeling the pressure of a decline in macaroni market share, announced a revamping of their Mac & Cheese line, replacing chemical food dyes with spices like paprika, annatto, and turmeric to give it that same yellow-orange color and same processed cheesy taste.
And that’s the irony of it all — a viral internet campaign, 250K petition signatures, national media coverage, and a consumer boycott. That’s what it takes to get a multibillion dollar food company to make a safer product that appears and tastes no different than its predecessor. The same product that the same company sells to the same Spongebob-viewing demographic overseas.
Last night, the woman (err, babe…) who spearheaded the Healthy Mac & Cheese movement, Vani Hari, stopped by the podcast to discuss not only her experience with the Kraft campaign but the changes she and her Food Babe Army have inspired change on the Chik-Fil-A menu and more.
Here are my notes…
4:05 – Chocolate chip cookies that will keep you alive forever.
7:45 – What happens when you eat nothing but donuts, muffins, and coffee for four months.
9:38 – What motivated Vani to make health her number one priority.
14:40 – Awakening to the hidden dangers in processed food ingredients and GMOs.
17:35 – The Kraft Investigation: good versions there, bad versions here…
21:27 – The Chicago Taste Test: “They taste the same!”
23:50 – “…it’s really about shifting people’s dollars in the marketplace.”
27:40 – Just how many ingredients (and butane) are in a Chik-Fil-A chicken sandwich?
31:43 – Meeting with Chik-Fil-A…and creating change!
34:40 – How to make natural food dyes.
35:10 – What’s really in the Honestly Good 100% Natural Lean Cuisines.
37:45 – Vani grades President Obama’s impact on the food supply.
41:40 – New Castle beer or New Cancer beer?
45:34 – The best organic, non-toxic, pesticide-free wines.
47:40 – The problem with GMO yeasts in California wines.
53:08 – Vani’s take on nutritional yeast.
58:34 – How YOU can support Vani’s movement!
Click the player below to listen to this CLASSIC episode.
Cool Stuff Mentioned on this Episode…
The Food Babe’s Forever Cookies
The Inside Story On My Visit to Kraft Headquarters
The Kraft Petition
Chick-Fil-A or Chemical-Fil-A
Appetite for Profit Podcast with Michele Simon
My Blog Post: Lessons for the No on Prop 37 Vote
The Food Babe Eating Guides
See you next week!
Author, The Dark Side of Fat Loss