idiot box; idiot jar

it's not that I don't have anything to say. I simply have too many things to say. so whilst we wait for the sediment to settle and the cream to come to the forefront of my mind i thought i would mention my great annoyance at a certain television commercial. In fact, I thought I had already had a rant about this product as it flies in the face of decency and common sense, but alas I have neglected to share this with you until now...

two angelic looking blonde children (are they twins? friends? who knows) are at the table and their poor frustrated mother is at kitchen bench. we're told how difficult it is to feed children fibre because, let's face it, kids hate vegetables. So instead of trying to hide vegetables in dishes such as spaghetti bolognese we should sprinkle in some fibre supplement to help get the family's fibre intake up to where it ought to be.

even better, is that the supplement is a totally tasteless, dissolvable and non-thickening powder that can be added to your everyday food or drink, you can even cook with it!!! as it is totally tasteless, dissolvable and non-thickening, you're children won't even know that they are eating fibre!!!

of course by the end of the advertisement the children are happily tucking into their bowls of spaghetti bolognese!

here we have a completely unnecessary product, marketed to parents and children alike, to declare that children don't like vegetables so give up trying, don't educate your kids about the importance of eating fibre and eating a balanced diet and neglecting to mention the additional nutrients and benefits eating vegetables can have. (the advertisement also breezes over the detail that the supplement is made from chicory - a plant!)

this product is touted to be a health food product. and yet from what i can tell, the community at large is more concerned about fast food chains putting toys in their "happy meals". whilst i don't want to get into a fast food debate, i do wonder where the priorities lie when people are thinking (or perhaps not) about these issues and how society determines what appropriate advertising is and isn't!!!


purple goddess said...

It's another example of the quick-fix, MTV, attention span of a barracuda with ADHD phenomenon.

"Look, a product that I can sprinkle on everything that will make my kids healthy!!"

It's another example of fast EVERYTHING.

speed dating, speed cooking, speed reading. This is speed "health" and speed "I feel like a good parent"

Having said that, there have been times when I have literally been on the point of despair with my STEP kids.... It's taken me nearly 6 years to get them to ingest anything other than processed food. These are kids who had NEVER seen a whole roasted chicken (chicken was little square crummbed things that lived in a Black and GOld box in the freezer)

As I saw one child become fatter and fatter, and another skinnier and skinnier, I despaired. Hell, we only have them 2 night a fortnight, what the hell could I do??

I banned processed food, and the snuck down the shops to buy crisp and hot chips. I banned sugared products, they snuck and hid tubs on Nutella in their suitcases.

And while I never sprinkled suppliments on their food, I DID hide veggies in things a la Jessica Seinfeld.

And the frustrated Mum in me can see a time when I would have reached for that supplement.

BUT... only as an adjunct to a continued push for healthy eating and decent nutririon.


grocer said...

i understand that it is hard for parents to get children to try things - we weren't perfect for our mum either.

you have "inherited" an issue that someone else has created and reinforced over many years.

the ad in question tells views not to bother hiding F&V in the food and that their product is a better/easier solution!!!

Kudos again to who has done something thoughtful and innovative to educate her kids. unfortunately when I brought this to the attention of others they said "but who has time for that?"

the question should really be, who doesn't have time or effort for teaching, nurturing and nourishing their children, and why have them if you don't intend to do that?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should make up a bowl of this stuff on its own and trying feeding it to the kids!
Or a bowl of this stuff versusa bit of lettuce and tom with some dressing.
I bet the veggies go down like a shot.
Sir Grumpy

stickyfingers said...

Coming from "The Dark Side" I can see both sides of the fence here...or is it my moon in Libra? LOL!

I figure you're angry that we need fibre supplements in the first place and are unhappy with the audacity of a company to use this platform to sell their product.

However read old recipe books (see Pat Churchill's blog), and you will find that even in the non processed food days, women were cooking up laxative remedies.

My thoughts:

1. I know someone who exercises regularly and eats a healthy diet free of junk, but his gastro intestinal system is so slow he needs a little extra help. Without supplements his bowel movements would be weekly. Benefibre, Metamucil and Fibogel are better for your gut than taking senna products (Laxatives) which can cause damage.

2. I agree with you in principle but have you ever tried selling bowel health products to the lowest common denominator? It's tricky.

3. I think the marketer is clever, finding a way to sell the product that doesn't mention the taboo word - constipation - while broadening their market share.

4. Some children are just plain impossible to convert to vegies. Often through no fault of their own, they lack the intellect to make the link between yummy and green or wholemeal. I think though some of their parents are often the same...and are probably constipated. By the same token, some kids are just plain obstinate and perhaps the primal comes through in them because in nature the safe foods to eat are sweet and fatty which is generally what these kids lean towards.

5. When large fast food chains claim to have lifted the fibre content in their products, how do they do it? Additives such as this.

5. In so far as educating parents I think the demise of sensible eating here can be attributed to the death of involvement in child raising by extended families and small communities.

6. The root of the problem: A generation of cooks who had to deal with war time austerity didn't pass any cooking skills on to their children - the Baby Boomers. The time poor Boomers failed to pass much on to the Gen X & Y in terms of nutritional information and cooking skills and hence the growing reliance on packaged goods and convenience foods. At my school we didn't even have a 'Home economics' class and nutrition was bunged in with Biology lessons...yawn.

So while it's easy to berate the Marketers, they are in fact just doing their job as requested by their clients. The true way to influence and effect change is to get involved in the community on a grass roots level and provide education to 'The Great Unwashed'.

grocer said...

thanks for your comments; as always they are thoughtful.

the difference between your friend and children generally, is that your friend has a condition that, despite doing all of the right things, requires additional supplements.

the marketer definitely is clever if the issue being addressed is solely constipation - so clever that it never crossed my mind!!!

and finally, i don't berate the advertising firm, I only point out that the mis-education of the masses is commonplace and unchecked. this is one of many examples...

which then comes to you point, that education at a grass roots level needs to overwhelm such marketing practices in order to empower the masses to make informed and rational decisions.

Having said all of that, i do know of a person, an educated, intelligent executive that takes such supplements so they "don't have to eat vegetables". What hope is there really?