The annoying language on food packaging: rhapsodies and philosophies
Recently, a Finnish manufacturer of meatballs was told its meatballs didn’t contain enough actual meat to qualify as meatballs. So canada goose coat 1000 calorie a day meal plan now it says on the packet simply: “Balls”. One might agree that canada goose coat 1000 the mechanically recovered slop that is the main ingredient of these balls should not be called “meat”. But if advertising authorities banned all inaccurate, arguable or just plain ridiculous language on food packets, our nosh would have to be wrapped, as cigarettes soon will be, in completely blank packaging.
Food-packet rhetoric, like most advertising, is mainly in the business of selling nice feelings. Especially on-trend these days is an ersatz, kitschy friendliness. On a bar of chocolate, for example, the manufacturers boast that “we use only the finest quality organic beans from our friends in the Dominican Republic”. (Isn’t it nice that they are friends?) And everything else seems to be from the tiniest of farms, or a “family-owned” business, or a kitchen: a ready-meal lasagne is “created with love in our kitchen”. (Is this kitchen, perhaps, the exact shape and size of a small factory?) A brand of snack bars is made “in small batches at our own makery”. Makery? I am guessing that “makery” is a portmanteau for “made-up bakery”.
We are constantly reassured about the manual labour that has gone into premium supermarket fare. Plastic-potted ready meals and potages are “hand cooked” or “hand crafted”; some bacon has even been “hand rubbed with sea salt”. (It is very respectful to massage the pig after it is dead.) And ingredients are always “simple” or “natural”, and always “authentic”. (I found some “authentic” can i wash my canada goose coat Cumberland sausages that had no meat in them, because they were vegetarian sausages. Lord canada goose coat – kensington knows what the Finnish authorities would make of that.) One food company ingeniously boasts of using “clean ingredients”. One expects they use potatoes that have never been near any soil.
Foodmakers will also burble canada goose coat 1000 calorie on about their “philosophy” or their “mission” or their “strong core values” or the “adventure” or “journey” they have been on in order to get their products triumphantly shelved in Waitrose. Feel-good words are liberally sprinkled over the cardboard, even if they don’t make any sense. “Nature’s Path is a friendly, family-owned, ‘organic-only’ cereal producer where words like taste and trust stand side by side.” (Taste trust? Trust taste?) One of the most aggressive philosophisers is the pudding manufacturer Gü, which issues a list of commands on the packet, including “give in to happiness” and “reject propriety, embrace variety”. It is left tantalisingly unclear whether we should reject or embrace satiety.
This is a rhetorical mood that has lately shifted from cookbook to food packet: the gastro-imperative. Food packaging now issues orders on the front jacket, rather than serving suggestions on the back. “Make a meal more memorable with Gressingham duck,” it says on a duck. (If you are cooking for a vegetarian, it will definitely be memorable.) A packet of quinoa insists: “Mix with chicken stir-fry. Toss in a salad.” (Simultaneously?)
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A particularly elaborate gastro-imperative on a line of posh ready meals seeks to gain obsessive control over every detail of your evening. “Turn off the phone,” it instructs, “dim the lights and crack open a bottle. Steal back some time by letting Charlie prepare you a truly delicious meal. All you have to do is relax can you dry clean a canada goose coat and enjoy each anyone has got canada goose coat other’s company.” On reading this I felt a powerful urge to scoff the lasagne alone while checking Twitter on my phone and drinking beer from the can. But then it can i put my canada goose jacket in the dryer passed, and I phoned for a takeaway.
The right answers should be easy to guess by now. What are all prepackaged vegetables? “Sweet” and “crunchy”. What is anyone has got canada goose coat cheese? “Matured in caves.” What is the foodist’s equivalent of Farrow & Ball paint? Clarence Court’s Old Cotswold Legbar eggs, which have “pastel-coloured shells”. What is the greatest number of things a food can be “free from” while still legally qualifying as food? Actually, that was a trick question: logically, the answer must be infinitely many. Even Finnish “balls” are probably free from aubergine, bulldozers and Gwyneth Paltrow.