Convenience Goes Healthy
I read a press release recently sent by McCain Foods Canada that explains the company’s first steps at producing ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products that have simplified ingredients (read: made with ingredients found in a typical home) and easy-to-understand labels. TNS Canadian Facts, a marketing and social research firm, hired by McCain discovered that over 80% of Canadians “try to avoid foods that have excessive ingredients that look more like chemical names than real food.” In response, the company is re-launching some of its popular products (frozen pizza, pizza pockets, potato products) under the new “It’s all good(™)” banner. These products will feature shorter and more recognizable ingredients, the pizza pockets will feature real cheese, and some products will be altered so that they’re more healthful, be it that they contain less sodium, flax seed, what have you.
This first step is all well and good. I wholeheartedly applaud their efforts. And, when these newly made products appear in my local supermarket, I will definitely stop and read the labels. Although I sometimes fall into the trap of purchasing frozen ready-to-cook food when I’m particularly short on time, or when there’s a new and interesting product I’d like to try, I usually never buy it more than once. I find that either the food doesn’t have much in the way of flavour (or too much thanks to excess sodium), or the dish could be so easily prepared from scratch that it’s just not worth ingesting a long list of chemicals. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for convenience. Batter Blaster is an example of a really good ready-to-cook product that’s both convenient and natural. The ingredient list in this pancake mix is basic, understandable and … organic.
I wonder, though, how far McCain’s is really willing to go. Using real ingredients instead of their chemical equivalents is great. But what if the real ingredients, themselves, are rife with chemicals. Will McCain’s lead the convenience food market with organic and non-gmo sourced ingredients? We’ll wait and see.