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Disturbing Food Commercial

Just saw a commercial for French's Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce for the first time, and am extremely perturbed. Mom, Dad, Brother, and Sis are seated around the dinner table, consuming what appears to be fried chicken nuggets, celery, and carrot sticks. Everything get dunked in a bowl of the gloppy sauce before being consumed.

This stuff contains HFCS, corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup solids and honey. It's so delicious that the two grinning kids wipe the bowl clean with their fingers.

What are the people at French's thinking? Have they not heard about the childhood obesity epidemic? Do they really think we should be raising our kids to believe that all food needs to be sweet? Shame on them!

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  1. You honestly think the massive British/Dutch conglomerate that owns French's (and Clearasil, and Airwick, and Lysol, etc.) really cares about anything other than moving product in the States? In fact, do you think ANY national brand gives a crap about good health and nutrition unless it's a blurb they can stick on the label and move more product by fooling people into thinking that fake food is "healthy" because it's "fat-free" or now the trendy "gluten-free"?

    1. The silly part is that one can create a dipping sauce with mustard and honey in their very own home and don't have to spend the extra money to buy it pre-made.

      1. That commercial isn't any worse than the ones that suggest the hfcs is "the same as sugar," imho.

        Big agra doesn't give a $hit about the health of Americans, just as big tobacco doesn't care, either. It's all about more money for their pockets. And I'll bet they don't eat those appy-cray products they sell, either!

        1. I don't understand how this commercial - or indeed, this product - is any more disturbing than other commercials for prepared food. Many, many commercials advertise products that contain HFCS, and lots of salt, and lots of fat. And obviously, a commercial will portray people enjoying the product advertised. Is there a reason you hold French's to a higher standard?

          20 Replies
          1. re: small h

            It's not the HFCS. It's the idea that children should dip vegetables into what amounts to candy. By the time they're adults, they're going to want nothing but sweetened food. THAT is what I find particularly disturbing.

            1. re: pikawicca

              I guess I don't see it as any worse than encouraging children to cover everything with cheese. So that by the time they're adults, they're going to want nothing but salty fatty food.

              1. re: small h

                Covering everything with cheese would not be good, either, but I've never seen a commercial where everyone dips their food into a pot of melted cheese.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  I have. It was (I think) a commercial for the American Dairy Association. The tagline was "Behold, the power of cheese." But it wasn't dipping, it was more like pouring cheese all over things. Broccoli-type things.

                  1. re: small h

                    And then, there's the Hidden Valley Ranch commercial where kids are pouring gallons of the stuff on (previously) healthful foods. Yep, how to make your cauliflower into something just as junky as movie theater popcorn - thanks very much!

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      Indeed. And add to this books like The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious. Which brings me back to my original point - why does the French's commercial deserve to be singled out for awfulness? Maybe it's just the last straw for you?

                      1. re: small h

                        I'm not sure. Perhaps it's because the HVR setting is an obvious Fantasy Land, while the French's commercial implies that this is the way normal people eat all the time.

                      2. re: pikawicca

                        That's exactly the commercial I was thinking of. My response when they say how it gets kids to eat their veggies is, sure, they'll eat anything covered in fat!

                  2. re: small h

                    Sigh ... fat doesn't make you fat. Obesity is caused not by overeating, but by an overabundance of insulin. That's why type 1 diabetics can eat their own weight in junk food three times a day and still drop weight like crazy. It's not the cheese, it's the bread and potatoes and pasta to which it's added.

                    1. re: MandalayVA

                      Don't know why you're sighing; small h said nothing about fat making people fat. Obviously, the consumption of large amounts of salty, fatty foods contributes to many diseases.

                      1. re: pikawicca

                        Another sigh ... no. Every disease of civilization--cancer, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, digestive issues--can be laid squarely at the feet of refined carbs and sugar consumption. All of them are rare or nonexistent in societies where those foods are not available and come screaming in within a generation of them being made available. High blood pressure which is solely related to salt consumption doesn't happen that often. The USDA funded by Big Agro lobbyists are telling us to eat exactly the kinds of foods--grains, fruit, soy products--that are the absolute worst things a human being can eat for health. The "research" that led to the current adoption of the low-fat ideal back in the sixties and seventies? Funded by such companies as General Mills and Frito-Lay. Oh, no, THEY didn't have a stake in pushing grains, not at all! Read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes--he's a scientific journalist who lays out the history of how the current "healthy diet" ideas came to be. Hopefully you'll be as outraged as I was.

                        1. re: MandalayVA

                          I have to politely disagree. There are many cultures that consume a low fat diet full of grains, soy and white rice, which is all carbs, with no adverse increase in heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

                          The true root of the issue is excess calories which lead to obesity and the associated risk to diseases.

                          1. re: dave_c

                            Yes, refined carbohydrates are the bogeyman du jour. Tell a Chinese peasant who eats almost nothing but white rice and vegetables, with an occasional fish, that white rice gives you cancer, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and digestive issues. They also don't have chronic constipation like all my L.A. carbohydrate-phobic friends whose diet consists primarily of white meat chicken, canned tuna and protein shakes. They've turned "carbs" (ugh, that word) into booze, and their low-carbohydrate evangelism into their AA meetings.

                            Overconsumption is the problem, period. If you don't overdo it, you can have honey mustard dressing. No, not on everything. And no, you can't eat everything in the first place.

                        2. re: pikawicca

                          'Tis true, I did not. Consuming more calories than you expend makes you fat. The calories might come from butter, and they might come from celery, but if you take in more than you burn off, you gain weight.

                          1. re: small h

                            "'Tis true, I did not. Consuming more calories than you expend makes you fat. The calories might come from butter, and they might come from celery, but if you take in more than you burn off, you gain weight."


                            Good gosh. Thanks for setting people straight.

                            Don't tell me about HFCS, simple carbs, insulin this or insulin that, causing obesity.

                            It's really simple.

                            Calories consumed > energy expended = weight gain.

                            If a person expended 2000 calories a day and consumed nothing but 2000 calories of HFCS, that person wouldn't be any more obese than if she had consumed 2000 calories from only apples.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              "Don't tell me about HFCS, simple carbs, insulin this or insulin that, causing obesity."

                              To clarify, a type 1 diabetic can most definitely take in 4000 calories/day, burn 1500 calories, and lose weight (this is not a good thing for the diabetic).

                              Uncontrolled type 1 diabetes is admittedly an extreme case. For most of us, that would not happen. But looking at obesity solely as a function of calories in and out is too simplistic. Calories in is in part a function of hunger. Which is in part a function of what type of foods we eat and how and when we eat them.

                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                There is a difference between diet and disease and diet and obesity.

                                I'm just talking about the latter.

                        3. re: MandalayVA

                          >>Obesity is caused not by overeating...

                          But by people who don't know how to apportion their food. If they're given too much, bring it home. If you have children at home, control what they eat. Simple. It's not anybody's job but the parent to teach their children.

                          Here's a novel thought -- take responsibility for oneself, parents for children, adults for themselves.

                          Not in this country, not in this lifetime.

                      2. re: pikawicca

                        Just as the TV shouldn't take over the education of children in other areas, it's up to the parents to feed their kids decent food. Nobody, not even French's, is holding a gun to anyone parent's head, force-feeding them their sugary trash food.

                        Can't blame TV. Could blame the big corporations, but.... jeez. Where to begin?

                        1. re: linguafood

                          Exactly, linguafood.

                          Such a simple point.

                    2. I certainly understand you point. But there is nothing here. How is this particular commercial worse than so many others?

                      1. This reminds me of the commercials I've been seeing selling Nutella as health food.

                        They feature a mom thrilled that with just a slather of nutella, her kids will eat health food.. like slices of white bread.

                        I sort of find those commercials funny. Except that I'm sure they are backed by lots of market research showing that many people are buying into that 'it's healthy, dammit!' message for any product that it's plausible someone would eat with celery.

                        1. Why don't we just ban all commericals promoting food and alcohol while we're at it?

                          1. I don't see how this is different from any item marketed to children. The reality is that outside of items that are regularly seen in snack/drink machines and in the school lunch line, children are not able to buy these items on their own. It's up to the parents to decide what to buy and how much of that item a child can have.

                            1. Could there please be a moratorium on these 'obesity epidemic' panic threads?

                              I appreciate the concern around unhealthful eating and around potential disease, but couching all of this in a discourse of 'obesity' conflates issues that need to be disarticulated as it ensures a morally and 'scientifically' secure form of bigotry against fat people. Indeed, rather than discuss health, the thread has turned to weight gain/loss matters and frankly, while changes in weight CAN be associated with matters of health, they are not necessarily so.

                              Ultimately, if one wants to talk about health matters, that's one thing, but the dominance of this obesity discourse simply produces toxic threads and a hateful atmosphere.

                              1. Oh please, just let people eat what they want to eat and worry about yourself. (this comment is for the OP; it looks out of place where it has landed)

                                2 Replies
                                1. Also... There were so many worse products around in the 60s and 70s when I was growing up and most of the kids then did not have weight problems. Funny though, I did, and I grew up in a house where my mother did not work and we had a complete home-cooked meal on the table 7 days a week. All good food cooked from scratch. The problem? I ate too much of it and my nice Italian-American mother encouraged it.

                                  1. Deceptive commercials are hardly new. There was one about 20 years ago touting cream cheese as, ounce for ounce, lower calorie than butter. How many people thought it through to realize that you typically use 3-4 times the volume of cream cheese on a bagel as compared to the amount of butter you'd use? And let's not forget Florence Henderson telling us that when you fry chicken in Crisco it all comes back except for a little spoonful, when of course the volume of liquid left in the frying pan also included juice and rendered fat from the meat. If memory serves, Annette Funicello told us that peanut butter had more protein than a tunafish sandwich, although you'd never use as much PB on a sandwich as you would tuna salad.

                                    1. Only slightly off post, I am really annoyed by the commercial that shows a couple of little kids laughing at their stupid parents cleaning up after haviing cooked a completey yucky meatloaf dinner and then putting all of the kids' uneaten food in the wrong trash bag. I cannot imagine why this ad would drive a parent to go out and buy whatever bag that was (or have children in the first place -- ever.).

                                      3 Replies
                                        1. re: junescook

                                          There's a Boston Pizza commercial here that's similar, except it's a kid who won't eat his vegetables. The offered solution? Don't serve them! Eat at Boston Pizza and he'll eat all his meals on top of thick pan-fried bread and melted cheese!

                                          Kids like crappy, expensive food that's bad for them?! Eureka!!

                                          1. re: junescook

                                            Yeah, I always wonder at ad men who think that the "idiot parents - clever bratty children" thing is going to motivate PARENTS to purchase products. Huh?

                                          2. Here's the spot the original poster was referring to.


                                            Mr Taster