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Feb 2, 2007 07:29 PM

What Food Products Have Changed?

Today's "Dilbert" teaches us that business makes "random [product] changes to create the illusion of added value". This morning I read that, then this afternoon I bought Nabisco Ginger Snaps, which I have been eating since childhood, and damned if Nabisco hasn't totally changed them---flavor, texture, appearance. What other products have been changed?

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  1. One product that immediately came to mind was the Twinkie. We were lucky as kids to get a real sponge cake as opposed to that rubbery stuff they have to eat nowadays. Has anybody tried a twinkie within the last ten years...? They're terrible!

    1. first thing i thought of was mcdonald's french fries. they used to cook them in lard and they were delicious. no more.

      all commercial baked goods now contain high fructose corn syrup, even products like bread that previously contained only modest amounts of sugar. canned soups, frozen pizzas, everything has it.

      soda is also made from hfcs and is much much sweeter.

      10 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Actually, they were cooked in tallow (tallow is from beef, lard is from pork; very different flavor profiles) at one of the two stages. So far as I know, they still are in Canada.

        Interestingly, the switch from tallow *increased* the caloric load per unit by about 30%! The fries absorbed less fat under the older process.

        1. re: Karl S

          The problem with tallow is it makes the restaurant really unappealing to vegetarians (I mean, removing the veggie burger probably did that as well), but it does mean that there are now pretty much NO vegetarian options there.

          1. re: mrbunsrocks

            Well, they haven't used tallow for a while in the US. Which is why the fries now are only occasionally OK. McDonald's fries are no longer the gold standard of fast-food fries. I normally toss them unless I somehow luck into a very freshly and well made batch.

            1. re: mrbunsrocks

              I was a vegetarian for many years and I think that certain places are not meant to be veggie friendly. I never missed McDonalds. In any event, when I did try their veggie burger it was one of the worst versions I have ever had - which is why it was never a big seller and is gone. IMO McDonald's is the kind of place that is better off sticking with the old standbys. Most often than not there are other places nearby for a vegetarian to find something to eat.

              1. re: pescatarian

                The exception is McDos along a highway - often it is the only place one can eat.

                1. re: pescatarian

                  Nicely reasoned. I agree -- a place like McDonald's is not meant to be all things to all people. And a vegetarian would find pickings rather slim there.

              2. re: Karl S

                Yes, the french fries at McDonald's in Canada have beef fat and cottonseed oil.

                1. re: pescatarian

                  I just checked the fries themselves are made with "Potatoes, a blend of partially hydrogenated fats and oil (beef fat and cottonseed oil) may contain dextrose, sodium acid pryophosphate and cooked in 100% vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soyean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethylpolysiloxane)" Yikes.


                  1. re: gourmethunter

                    This has changed in 3 years, no more beef fat

                    French Fries: Potatoes, canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, safflower oil, natural flavour (vegetable source),
                    dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain colour), citric acid (preservative), dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming
                    agent) and cooked in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric
                    acid and dimethypolysiloxane).

            2. The chocolate and fudge switch-a-roo that is happening to most name brand cookies. If my family needed a reason to not eat these, albeit convenient sweets, fake chocolate is definitely a good reason.

              1. HandiSnacks. My niece was eating one, and they're even worse these days! The cheese used to taste like American cheese, but now it just tastes awful.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kcchan

                  Oh good it isn't just me then!

                2. Maybe it's just me, but I think Girl Scout Cookies have gone from good to gross.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: mcel215

                    Absolutely, GS cookies are horrible.

                    1. re: mcel215

                      very ditto, double gross and so expensive, I think they're smaller, and the shortbread needs to be taken off the market

                      1. re: mcel215

                        I was participating a a cooking contest earlier in the week and it was a fund raiser for the GS. Requirements were to use GS cookies and chocolate. I made a chocolate hazelnut tart from Epicurious and substituted the GS Trefoils crushed into crumbs for the crust in place of graham cracker crumbs. The odor of the artificial vanilla in the Trefoils was really gross. Luckily the filling over rode the crust but from the moment of crushing them in the food porcessor to baking the crust it was almost unbearable.

                        1. re: Candy

                          As an Uncle who gets rubber-hosed into buying these "cookies" from a couple of nieces each and every year thank you all from me & my comfort-zone. :-)

                          1. re: Harp00n

                            buy from the nieces and then make your own at home. when the nieces are around, swap out the homemade ones. then everyones happy!

                        2. re: mcel215

                          I agree. Smaller cookies, higher prices. As a former Girl Scout, I'm disappointed that the quality has gone down. However, I still have to have my Samoas every year. My guilty pleasure.