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n an attempt to cash in on health-minded shoppers, food giant Kraft has rolled out a label-marking program that targets caring parents… but at the expense of their kids.
The Kraft “Sensible Solution” program works like this:
A bright green flag that reads “Sensible Solution” is placed on their line of “better-for-you” products. The purpose is to help time-pressed shoppers more easily spot these healthy foods made by Kraft. Seems sensible enough.
Not so fast. When we dug a little deeper, we noticed that this green flag of health made its way on a few Oscar Mayer Lunchables. Hmmmm.
Case in point: Oscar Mayer Lunchables – Deep Dish Pizza Extra Cheesy
(Serving Size: 1 pkg, 510 calories, 12g fat, 4.5g sat fat, 830mg sodium, 36g sugar, 24g protein)
Caution: there are over 100 ingredients padding out this list. Please feel free to get comfy, it’ll take a while to read through this long list of junk ingredients!
Ingredients: WATER: NATURAL SPRING WATER. PIZZA CRUSTS: ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SOYBEAN OIL, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF YEAST, WHEY (FROM MILK), SALT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE, ENZYME MODIFIED SOY LECITHIN, RICE BRAN EXTRACT, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, CALCIUM PROPIONATE (PRESERVATIVE), DRIED GARLIC, ALPHA CELLULOSE, WHEAT GRITS, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, PECTIN, CELLULOSE GUM, ENZYMES, L-CYSTEINE. CHEESE BLEND: 2% MILK NATURAL REDUCED FAT MOZZARELLA CHEESE (PASTEURIZED PART-SKIM MILK, CHEESE CULTURE, SALT, ENZYMES, VITAMIN A PALMITATE), NATURAL NONFAT CHEDDAR CHEESE (PASTEURIZED SKIM MILK AND MILK, SALT, YEAST, CHEESE CULTURE, ARTIFICIAL COLOR NATURAL FLAVOR, ENZYMES, VITAMIN A PALMITATE), POTATO STARCH, WATER, CELLULOSE POWDER (ANTICAKING AGENT), CALCIUM SULFATE, SALT, NATAMYCIN (A NATURAL MOLD INHIBITOR). PIZZA SAUCE: WATER, TOMATO PASTE, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF SALT, SPICE, ONION POWDER, CITRIC ACID, XANTHAN GUM, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE), NATURAL FLAVOR, SOY LECITHIN. ARTIFICIALLY FLAVORED FRUIT ROLL: SUGAR, CORN SYRUP, WHEAT FLOUR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, CITRIC ACID, MALIC ACID, SODIUM CITRATE, CELLULOSE GUM, GLYCERINE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, ARTIFICIAL COLOR (RED 40). TROPICAL PUNCH ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR SOFT DRINK MIX: SUGAR, FRUCTOSE, CITRIC ACID (PROVIDES TARTNESS), CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), VITAMIN E ACETATE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE (PREVENTS CAKING), ACESULFAME POTASSIUM AND SUCRALOSE (SWEETENERS, ARTIFICIAL COLOR, RED 40, BLUE 1, BHA (PRESERVES FRESHNESS). CHEESY FLAVORED SEASONING ARTIFICIALLY FLAVORED: MALTODEXTRIN, NATURAL BUTTER FLAVOR (AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, NATURAL FLAVOR [CONTAINS MILK], TAPIOCA MALTODEXTRIN, MALTODEXTRIN, CULTURED WHEY, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SILICON DIOXIDE, WHEAT BRAN, SALT, WHEAT, MOLASSES), NATURAL FLAVOR (MALTODEXTRIN, MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, NATURAL FLAVOR, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, TRIETHYLCITRATE), NATURAL FLAVOR (PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, NATURAL FLAVOR), SILICON DIOXIDE AS AN ANTICAKING AGENT, ALUMINUM OXIDE, YELLOW 6 LAKE, YELLOW 5.
Okay, back to business. Even though the name – Deep Dish Pizza Extra Cheesy – raises a red flag, their green Sensible Solution flag implies that parents can have both convenience and healthier kids. We say that before you fall prey to such Kraftiness; take a closer look at the fine print.
Decoding the Fine Print
This “sensible” meal includes a serving of deep-dish pizza (with extra cheese!), a tropical fruit punch drink and a fruit roll-up. Here’s the better-for-you breakdown:
Kids go wild for SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE on their pizza. Not! The fine print tells us that the pizza alone contains over 20 chemical additives. This includes some of our least favorite junk ingredients, like refined sweeteners, harmful preservatives, fillers, and plenty of artificial flavorings and colorings.
Can it really be “extra-cheesy” and sensible? We wish! The ingredients label has a section dedicated to the “Cheesy Flavored Seasoning Artificially Flavored.” This cheesy concoction is comprised of 18 chemical additives that sound like they should be in a science project, not in a kid’s meal. Take a look at some of these “mouthwatering” ingredients:
- SILICON DIOXIDE
- MEDIUM CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES
- ALUMINUM OXIDE
Are they kidding?
OK. But at least there’s fruit in the juice drink and fruit roll-up, right? Wrong! The tropical punch is made up of added refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, preservatives and some added vitamins for good measure. And since fruit doesn’t naturally roll up, this yummy treat is comprised of 11 chemical additives and sugar. There’s not a fruit in sight. But hey, it is fun!
The Final Analysis – This product is a Healthy Food Imposter. Overall, this meal is off the charts with excessive amounts of sodium (a whopping 830 mg), fat (12 gram), and chemical additives.
We don’t care how handy these pre-packaged vacuum-sealed boxes are. The only Sensible Solution for a savvy shopper is to follow this Golden Rule:
Never judge a product by its cover; judge only by its ingredients label!
Hey parents, if you’re looking for better-for-you lunches that only take a few minutes to prepare, try this Brand Doctor brown-bag favorite:
A turkey sandwich on 100% whole wheat, an apple, an all-natural cookie, and a juice drink… filled with 100% juice!
Now that’s what we call a sensible solution. Oh yeah, and it’s healthy and delicious too!
Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.