Friday, June 02, 2006

Marketing and ...

Eschaton comments:
STFU Amanda's been hitting this theme for awhile and it's good one. The idea that anything which is "natural" (whatever that means) is inherently better because... well, I don't know why, is just stupid.
Mostly it is marketing: a battle of the titans of Madison Avenue.

Yet: Take wheat flour. If you grind wheat grains without separating the germ and hull from the kernel you will get a nutrient rich but perishable, oily, coarse flour. It is very good for making a hearty, dark, "peasant" bread. In inexpert hands it may also closely resemble a brick -- the ones without straw that pharaoh demanded. For delicate pastry, it is not the first choice.
Sifting -- or bolting -- removes the husks and lightens the flour considerably. The absence of fiber makes the result better suited to cakes and pies, and less suited to your colon's health. But the nutritious oils from the germ still cause rancidity problems and heaviness in the product. The flour millers avoid this by removing the germ before they grind. Now the flour is "white", light, keeps well, and is practically valueless as a food. So the Flour manufacturers "enrich" the stuff. But they return only a scant amount of the nutrients they removed. That small amount is mandated by federal regulations. Enriched sounds better than not -- the opposite is true. That's marketing
So to some 'Natural' means a grown product that has not been deconstructed to improve its shelf life, or manipulated by man to improve its characteristics such as ship-ability at the expense of its consumer value such as taste -- think tomatoes.

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