Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is this everything that's wrong with America?



Here is a quote from Eating Well magazine: "We are a big, fat, lazy, wasteful, gullible culture. We'll swallow anything. We'll sell our parental pride for $2.89." (Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun columnist, on parents buying premade, frozen peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches for their children.)

What is wrong with Uncrustables? Let us count the ways...

1. They had to get a PATENT. For peanut butter and jelly
sans crust. Here's the illustration for their application:
Apparently, their big innovation is using peanut butter and crustless bread to effectively entrap their world-famous jelly. (!)

2. Their...
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size 1 Sandwich (58 g)
210 calories, 9 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat... (look for yourself)

You might be asking yourself how they crammed so many calories, fat, and salt into a tiny little sandwich, while leaving out so many nutrients... It might help to read their...

Ingredients
BREAD: ENRICHED UNBLEACHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, YEAST, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: WHEAT GLUTEN, SALT, DOUGH CONDITIONERS (MAY CONTAIN ONE OR MORE OF: DIACETYL TARTARIC ACID ESTERS OF MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES (DATEM), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, ETHOXYLATED MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, CALCIUM PEROXIDE, ASCORBIC ACID, AZODICARBONAMIDE, L-CYSTEINE), YEAST NUTRIENTS (MAY CONTAIN ONE OR MORE OF: MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, CALCIUM SULFATE, AMMONIUM SULFATE), CALCIUM PROPIONATE (MAINTAIN FRESHNESS), CORNSTARCH, ENZYMES (WITH WHEAT). PEANUT BUTTER: SELECT ROASTED PEANUTS, DEXTROSE, VEGETABLE MONOGLYCERIDES (FROM PALM OIL), SALT. GRAPE JELLY: GRAPE JUICE, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, PECTIN, CITRIC ACID, POTASSIUM SORBATE ADDED AS A PRESERVATIVE.

We all know that refined flour is bad, hydrogenated oils are bad, corn syrup is bad (and high fructose corn syrup is god-awful!), not to mention all the other unpronounceable ingredients.

But what is really bad is the economics:

Here is how much one would pay for an Uncrustable (~ $2.99/ 4-pack)= $0.75

Here is how much one would pay for a similar peanut butter and jelly sandwich: (~ $2.59/18 oz. for a jar of Jif peanut butter, with 16 servings, ~ $2.45/18 oz. for Smucker's grape jelly with 32 servings, and ~ $2.39/20 slices for a loaf of Wonder Bread with 10 servings)=~ $0.17

Here is how much one would pay for a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich (whole grain bread, natural peanut butter, organic jelly) (~ $3.89/18 oz. Crazy Richard's all-natural peanut butter, with 16 servings, ~ $3.49/10 oz. Cascadian Farms organic grape jelly with 1 servings, ~ $3.00/20 slices of fresh-baked whole wheat bread at my local grocery store with 10 servings) =~ $0.74

These are prices I found on the Internet, so I'm sure everyone can find even better prices at their local co-ops or grocers, not to mention the added savings of, say, buying in bulk, making your own jam, peanut butter, or baking your own bread. What this demonstrates is that parents are willing to pay a hefty premium to stuff their kids full of chemicals, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated oils (of which you should eat none), refined white flour, GMO's, etc.

The great thing is, the convenience article doesn't really work here, because what is easier than making a PB & J, for crying out loud??

Start the revolution, folks! Refuse the junk being marketed to you and your kids. Reading an ingredient/nutrition label is one of the most enlightening and potentially empowering things you can do.

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14 comments:

Urban Vegan said...

Great post. Hear, hear.

Chris said...

Holy shiitake! I've seen a lot of insanely stupid "convenience" foods but this ranks right up there with the most inane. How freaking hard is it to make a pb&j sandwich? Love your cost analysis too.

Have you seen the new ad for a hotdog and bun in the same package? Just put the whole thing in the microwave and you don't even have to waste the approximately 3.5 seconds it would take you to get a bun out of a 2nd package. What's the world coming to?

Gaia said...

That is insane !
AND gross !

Am amazed by your tART !
I come from the land of Tarte au Sucre so my hat's off to you !

EatPeacePlease said...

This is a great post! I'm with you all the way. All these foods are ridiculous.

Amy said...

Ha! And the funny thing is, I first read about them on a vegan blog, what great road food they are (no prep, not too messy, can't find vegan food on the interstate, etc.) I think the gal was desperate and scrounging for food in a friend's freezer for a 3am drive back to another state.

bazu said...

That's funny, Amy! Yes, I guess they are technically vegan, aren't they...?

foeckingmf said...

I appreciate your sentiments, but do you know what any of the unpronounceable ingredients really are, and do you have any idea of the risks they pose compared to, say, driving a car or bathing?

I hate packaged food too. But your concern for the presence of ingredients you can't pronounce speaks more for ignorance than for a worthwhile concern.

Mark

Vegan_Noodle said...

Okay, so I read this a year later (I like how you have links to those, cool idea)...but it is still so true!! Sometimes it's quite scary to look at the labels of packaged foods that are marketed to the public. I liked your breakdown of costs, very interesting!

Anonymous said...

the taste of it isn't all that bad .....i'm a college student so its easy to carry around and to snack on

Jack Mehoff said...

what is easier than making a PB & J, for crying out loud??

The one thing easire than making a PB & J and putting it in a bag is: buying one that is already made and in a bag.

What this demonstrates is that parents are willing to pay a hefty premium to stuff their kids full of chemicals, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated oils (of which you should eat none), refined white flour, GMO's, etc.

No, what this demonstrates is that parents are willing to pay a small premium for convenience, and don't care about the artificial stuff, which is in most peanut butter and bread anyway.

I'm sure everyone can find even better prices at their local co-ops or grocers, not to mention the added savings of, say, buying in bulk, making your own jam, peanut butter, or baking your own bread.

Better prices for making your own peanut butter, jam, and bread? Non likely, unless your time is worth very little. Anyone who makes more than the minimum wage is paying extra (with their valuable time) for the luxury and goodness of homemade items. Natural stuff is a luxury for people who are willing to devote lots of their time and/or lots of their money.

Jack Mehoff said...

Here is how much one would pay for an Uncrustable (~ $2.99/ 4-pack)= $0.75

Here is how much one would pay for a similar peanut butter and jelly sandwich: ...=~ $0.17


But the Uncrustable costs 30 seconds of your time, tops, which at $9/hour is worth 8 cents. The traditional sandwich costs maybe 5 minutes of your time, which at $9/hour is worth 75 cents.

Final tally:
Uncrustable 0.75 materials + 0.08 time = $0.83
Traditional 0.17 materials + 0.75 time = $0.90

Obviously this gap increases as you move up to middle class parents, who probably are the target market.

But, any way you look at it, the Uncrustable is cheaper.

Anonymous said...

The traditional sandwich costs maybe 5 minutes of your time

5 Minutes?!!!Who takes 5 minutes to make a pbj? Maybe 2 minutes tops! And when you multiply your savings by the number of sandwiches in a box, and the number of boxes you might buy in a month, I think it's obvious you're saving to make your own!

Not to mention, if you go with the healthy variety, you're saving your children's health. That's even more precious than the money!

Anonymous said...

wow... very interesting. I found this looking for "What's wrong with America". Never thought this would be what I found. Funny though, because I just bought a ten pack. It's very convient and being a college student and working on top of that. I throw one in a bag with some other stuff like trail mix, carrots, maybe something else and a bottle of water for my fiften minute break at work. I don't think I'll die from some perservatives or some calories.

Anonymous said...

So lets say that it takes 5 minutes to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Almost instant gratification. Likewise, it takes 30 minutes to thaw a frozen Uncrustable sandwich. NOW which option saves time? Sandwiches are supposed to be spontaineous snacks, not something one plans ahead of time. Fresh still wins, although these are delicious. The calories are a great value, for you get more than two tablespoons of peanut butter (180 calories usually), 2 tablespoons of friut (50 calores, about) and the equivalent of 2/3 a piece bread of normal size and thickness, normally 75 calories for another piece of fractioned bread.