When I was at school it was common to reply to an insult by highlighting that I (the insultee) did not share some unpleasant characteristic with the insulter. For example:
Insulter: You've got stupid shoes! Stupid shoes, stupid shoes, stupid shoes.....
Insultee: Yeah, well at least I don't have a girl's haircut.
Victory was typically judged by an ad hoc jury of peers (whoever happened to be standing around) by subjective analysis of the comparative seriousness of the two accusations, and the extent to which each was justified.
Of course it was also about the delivery - the insultee may have had stupid shoes, but did it look like he cared? Did the girlie-haired insulter smart from the riposte? And what was the relative social standing of the verbal duellers? If Silly Shoes was more popular then his shoes could be pretty silly before accusations of feminine coiffure could sway the onlookers.
Where am I going with this? Well, lately I have become increasingly irritated by a marketing tactic employed by food manufacturers that reminds me of this childish logic.
A friend has just sent me a bag of sweets/candy manufactured by The Natural Confectionery Company. On the front of the packet it proudly trumpets no artificial colours and no artificial flavours. To me this employs tha same absurd rationale - replying to an insult with a proclamation about some other flaw one does not have. When you consider the vast array of ways in which a food can be unhealthy and damaging, these statements just look like childish replies to some unspecified rival (who does include those ingredients in their own products) in order to convince the jury (we, the consumers) to buy their product:
Yeah, but at least we don't have artificial colours and flavours
What no one in our playground ever did was to say to a couple of insult-trading kids:
You know what? You do have stupid shoes - but the fact that you do not have a girl's haircut in no way justifies your shoe selection. You need to talk to your parents. Grow a pair and exercise your right to choose shoes you want instead of those your mother thinks look nice. And as for you - ditto with the hair. If you instructed the hairdresser then shame on you - otherwise, you should also grow a pair and make your own decisions. Your non-stupid shoes simply do not mitigate this character flaw.
It certainly would have been refreshing - as you know, I'm a big fan of tough love.
So to get to the point, The Natural Confectionery Company is patently failing to adhere to the spirit of the UK FSA guidelines on what constitutes natural ingredients. Their website conveniently does not list the ingredients but I can tell you from the packet I have in front of me that the top ingredients for 'Jelly Squirms' are sugar, glucose syrup and modified wheat starch. Just the sort of things you find lying around the forest floor every day.
I explained all this to the Eat Natural company in Eat Natural? Not According to the Food Standards Agency. First, that sugar is not natural and second, that their weasel tactics of avoiding a direct breach of the guidelines by giving their company a name containing the word 'Natural' rather than using it in product names, simply won't wash.
I will contact the Natural Confectionery Company and make them aware of this post. Their contact form is easy to fill out, so feel free to do the same.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I will be putting together a roll call of shame to highlight the increasing number of companies who fail to have the courtesy to respond, including their contact details, so that others can contact them. This will let them know that more people than just one crazy blogger disapprove of what they do.
Eat Natural? Not According to the Food Standards Agency
Tough Love - Reasons not to Quit You don't Normally Hear