The Associated Press reports that fast and processed food makers have been trying their hardest to make products look “imperfect” in an attempt to convince consumers that they’re just as natural or fresh as a home-cooked meal. For instance, McDonald’s makes the eggs in its “Egg White Delight McMuffin” look sloppy and uneven — unlike the eggs in regular McMuffins, which tend to resemble hockey pucks.
Food makers use these disingenuous tactics knowing that consumers equate “imperfect” with “natural.” As Michele Simon, a public health lawyer, told the Associated Press, “They can’t change the fact that they’re making processed products so they have to use these other tricks to pretend.”
Kraft Foods went so far as to spend two years perfecting a chopping machine that cuts the company’s “Carving Board” line processed turkey portions in uneven slabs, instead of perfect slices, to replicate leftovers from a home-cooked meal.
These foods are not the same as their fresher and more natural counterparts. Fast and processed foods typically contain ingredients meant to preserve them, such as hydrogenated oils, brominated vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, salt, and sulfites — many of which can lead to negative health consequences including heart disease and cancer.
Food makers have consistently used smokescreens to deceive customers into thinking their products are healthy. Panda Express, Taco Bell, and Burger King have all employed deceptive marketing techniques that make their menu items seem healthier than they actually are. For instance, Burger King’s “game-changing” turkey burger option still weighs in at 530 calories. McDonald’s “McWrap” uses green packaging to play on customers’ perception of healthy foods — even though some versions of that wrap still contain over 600 calories.