Ancient Grain Greenwashing

Perhaps this product has been out for a while now, but I recent stream of Cheerios with Ancient Grains has sprung across my social media universe.  What fresh hell is this?

I’m not anti-grains, or believe that fortified cereals are birthed by the devil to poisoin us all.  I’ll save that hill for someone else to take.  At the same time, this whole product and marketing reeks of green washing an existing product by tweaking it just a little (if at all) and then blazing buzz words all over the box.  “Oh Cheerios has ancient grains, and I keep seeing how ancient grains are a super food so…”

Ever since I saw “Fat Free” on a package of Twizzlers in the mid-1990s during one of the “low fat = healthy” marketing phases, I’ve been hyper sensitive to the marketing BS of buzzwords.  It’s right up there with “Paleo-friendly” pastries (umm no, that’s not healthy), “Atkins Approved” steak covered in cheese sauce (umm no, that’s not healthy either.), or the explosions of superfood this and that.  Blueberry pancakes aren’t a health food because they contain a “superfood”.  Blueberries or any other food isn’t a superfood anyway, so let’ s just drop that label.

I’m not a nutrition fascist.  I indulge more than I should and don’t adhere to a diet regiment that would be best for me a lot of the time. I’m working at honing that as time goes on, but it’s a process just like it is for everyone else.  I’m not about shaming people who want to eat Twizzlers, or cheese covered steak, or a pound of bacon for breakfast, or blueberry pancakes.  I’m not about lecturing people on what they should or shouldn’t be eating.  At the same time I’m fully against self delusion.  Own that those foods are not good for you and you either are eating them anyway with whatever frequency you want or you choose to save them for indulgences.  Just don’t try to con yourself into thinking you are doing it right when you know you aren’t and then be disappointed at the final result which will help you fall even further off the health wagon.

It’s natural for these food companies to want to plug into this innate thought process we have of confirmation bias with this green washing.  It doesn’t make it any less irritating to me.



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