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Jul 27, 2012 07:48 PM

They really should be more clear about this!

Busy day today, so for a quick dinner I grabbed some ground beef and taco seasoning from Trader Joe's. I figured, TJ's stuff is usually good, I'll give the taco seasoning a shot, it's only 69 cents.

Apparently, you are only supposed to use 1/2 of the packet per pound of beef. Looking at it, you wouldn't guess it, and every other time I've bought other brands of taco seasoning (more often that I care to admit on CH) it's 1 packet per pound of meat.

My toungue is still on fire.

What have you guys encountered that really could have been labeled better?
Not at TJ's necessarily, but in general.

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  1. The first time I try a new product I always read everything carefully.
    Still, it wouldn't hurt TJ to emblazon the package with "Add to 2 lbs. meat!"

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tripeler

      Especially since this is a convenience food, I was in a rush after a busy day, and the package is the same weight as other brands I have used. Also, they sell ground beef in 1 lb packages.

    2. ummm... If the package is intended for two pounds of meat, not one, then you obviously did not read the label, so what good would better labeling do? Just askin'. '-)

      5 Replies
      1. re: Caroline1

        It doesn't say that it is for 2lbs, it says use 1/2 package per lb of meat. Most other brands are 1 pkg to 1lb of meat. Sure I should have read it more carefully, but that doesn't mean it isn't a confusing label.

        And, considering nearly every cup of coffee is now labeled with a caution that it might be hot, why not include more useful info in clear, legible type.

        I didn't post this so I could defend myself for not reading a label, I was hoping for others to share what they feel are confusing labels or packaging.

        1. re: iluvcookies

          And Sweetheart, I am NOT trying to pick on you. However, I don't see any difference between "use 1/2 package per pound of meat" and "Use entire package for two pounds of meat." It's simply two ways of saying the exact same thing. Right? :-)

          1. re: Caroline1

            I work in product development in the consumer goods (non-food) industry and have spend lots and lots of time with packaging designers making sure that instructions and features of an item are abundantly clear on packaging.
            So to me, whoever developed this package didn't research their competition and see that other brands are 1 pkg to 1lb. And then proceeded to put the info for using 1/2g pkg in very small type.

            1. re: iluvcookies

              yeah, you would think they would want to advertise and put a big "makes 2 pounds' or something prominent that would make you take a second look. (but depending on who im cooking for i sometimes put more than one packet of other brands in a pound of beef - also depending on what other spices i have in the cabinet at the time.)

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                At TJs, one brand of spices does not have to fight another for shelf space or buyer's attention. The packaging for this item is not particularly eye catching.


                On the front it just says 'Taco Seasoning Mix'

      2. What did the packaging actually say about usage?

        1. What applies to computers, applies to cooking: RTFM. :-)

          1. "Ingredients: sea salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, cane sugar, paprika, onion, garlic, black pepper, red bell pepper, oregano, chili pepper, and smoked paprika.

            I haven't tried this, but the placement of cayenne pepper high on the list hints that it will be spicy hot. One online reviewer thought so, even when used as per directions. The above reviewer says it isn't too salty. How was the salt level when made it with 1 lb of meat?

            If the salt level wasn't too high with 1 lb, then I think the heat level is too high for your tastes.

            The Wick Fowler 2 Alarm Chili mix has a rather prominent '2 lbs meat' on the front of the box.

            Another review:
            " This is some good good spicy stuff. It's heavy on the cayenne and chili pepper, with a good dash of black pepper, too.... It's definitely spicy, although, naturally, a little too heavy on the seasoned salt and salt in general."

            14 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              It wasn't too salty, just extremely spicy.
              Yes, I should have read the package more thouroughly. And perhaps a long, busy day wan't the best time to try a new item. Lesson learned.

              I was just trying to find out if anyone else had interesting stories similar to this.

              1. re: iluvcookies

                Well, there was the time my husband used an entire can of Mae Ploy green curry paste in a smallish curry. One can of coconut milk was no where near enough to tame those flames!

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  Ouch! It can be so hard to judge with spicy things, since such a tiny little bit can go a long way. I'm usually pretty careful about such things, but once in a while, it happens!

                2. re: iluvcookies

                  My guess is that even with 2 lb of meat, you would have found it to be too spicy.

                  The vague 'chili pepper' that they put near the bottom of the list tends to be near the top of the list on other brands. This is the milder pepper that gives color and background flavor. This would account for a difference in bulk.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Possibly.... though my spice tolerance has been improving lately.

                    1. re: paulj

                      I realize I'm stating the obvious, but when you mix your own, YOU have complete control. Which is why I haven't used a mix in about a half century. No. Wait! When I bought my Sous Vide Supreme, they sent me three complimentary spice blends; one for fish, one for lamb, and one for Cajun. I have NO idea what they taste like... '-)

                    2. re: iluvcookies

                      I'm afraid our 40 years of cooking together has only managed one "failure to read the packaging" catastrophe. On our first Christmas, we'd bought what we thought was a packet of sweet white sauce mix (to accompany the Christmas pudding) only to find it was a savoury one as we served it up.

                      1. re: Harters

                        That made me smile... 40 years :) Congrats

                        1. re: Harters

                          Reminds me of when I made bechemel with confectioners sugar rather than flour....

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            and how did that turn out? (other than unexpected) I'd imagine if there were no spices added it could be quite good.

                            1. re: hill food

                              I'm wondering how it tasted, too...

                        2. re: iluvcookies

                          It looks as if it doesn't have the filler added that the supermarket brands do. Starchy stuff that thickens the seasoning into a sauce.

                          It would never occur to me to use a product without reading every ingredient and also knowing how many servings it is... but I'm an info junkie.

                          Here's why the big packet from the supermarket seasons only 1 lb. Yes, and they also must be much bulkier in their packets due to undesirable added stuff that TJ's doesn't have: It's mostly starch, and sweetener, not seasoning.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Maltodextrin, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, spice, monosodium glutamate, corn starch, yellow corn flour, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, silicon dioxide (anticaking agent), natural flavor, ethoxyquin (preservative).

                            Again 'chili pepper' - the mild form, not cayenne.

                            Maltodextrin - a modified starch, filler and thickener, may or may not be sweet.

                            corn flour, corn starch - starch, probably for thickening. In baking powder corn starch is a moisture absorber and filler, but that's a baking ingredient.

                            The TJ version does not have these, though it does have some sugar.

                            The TJ package has less sodium than the El Paso - so if made according to directions the TJ version is half as salty (12*260 = 3120g sodium per 2 lb meat; 6*560=3360g per 1 lb meat.) Taking El Paso as the standard, there's nothing wrong with make the TJ version with a 1 lb of meat - if you can stand the heat.

                          2. re: iluvcookies

                            the exact, EXACT same thing happened to me with a sauce we bought at a natural foods store. It was a liquid package, not powder, but I looked over the ingredients and didn't see anythign amiss. My 3 year old was the first to reject it. He said his tongue was burning and I thought he was being an overreactive, picky toddler til I tasted mine. I spit it out. I like a little spice but this was just on FIRE. We ended up throwing the whole thing away. I don't know, in retrospect, if perhaps it was for 2 pounds of meat instead of 1 but I doubt that would have helped much anyway, it still would have been too hot. I mean, maybe if we put in TWENTY pounds each bite wouldnt' be as hot, but yeah, 1 more pound wouldn't have helped.