Faux Food


Tens of thousands of products have come through Consumer Reports' test kitchens. It turns out some of those products you might characterize as "fake food." What does that mean? Well, take a look and see.

Over the years, Consumer Reports' Erin Gudeux (PRON: guh-DOH) has come across quite a few items that aren't all they seem.

Take this box of Hungry Jack Blueberry Pancake and Waffle Mix. Like a lot of mixes that call themselves "blueberry" — it's certainly got blue bits, but they're not very berry. The bits you see are actually dextrose,
Partially hydrogenated oil, cellulose gum and dye — none of which grow on a blueberry bush.

"Well, another example we found is this Betty Crocker Twice Baked Bacon and Cheddar potatoes."

Without a close look, you could easily miss the words "Artificially Flavored" just underneath "Bacon."

"There's actually no bacon in the bacon and cheddar potatoes."

White Chocolate Jello Pudding is another "fake food" offender. Thanks to artificial coloring, it's the color of white chocolate. But cocoa butter, the key ingredient in white chocolate, is nowhere to be found. And Royal has another imposter pudding. This time it's pistachio — or is it? The pistachio flavor is artificial. And as for those nuts — well, they're almonds.

And here's another one.

"One of the most extreme examples I've ever seen is this Jolly Time Blast-o-butter Popcorn."

The box says it's "the most buttery." In fact, it's "butter-riffic." And, according to the "butter-meter," it's off the charts. So Erin was "butterly confused" when she found there is no butter in this popcorn at all!

Instead, you'll find Partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Mmmm-mmmm!

"These companies aren't doing anything illegal. They are following labeling regulations. Unfortunately that means sometimes the consumer has to do a little extra work."

So the next time you're in the supermarket, you'll want to check labels closely to be sure what you're really getting.

If you see an ad or a product claim that raises questions for you, you can send a copy to Consumer Reports, 101 Truman Avenue, Yonkers, NY, to the attention of Selling It.

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