Do you remember the last food commercial you watched? Fresh looking produce bouncing from a brand across the screen, perhaps overset by the words ‘The goodness of fresh fruits’, mothers watching on as their children scarfed down the products.
Stop right there.
The reality in case of most of these products is far, far away from what we are led to believe. The key lies in their name itself – Fast Moving Consumer Goods. These products are manufactured to meet the demands of customers in millions, which means creating them is as impersonal a process as you can imagine.
These mass-produced food items come from massive factories and corporate buildings, where the primary concern is not ‘How can we make this healthier?’,but ‘How can we make more people buy this ?” and “How can we make more of this faster and cheaper ?’. As a result, the products are full of additives, some of which can be quite harmful.
Large quantities of sugar and salt are added to enhance the product taste. Not only do these add to the weight of the end product (giving you less per 100 g of the real food), but upon over-consumption they are also known to lead to numerous lifestyle diseases.
Normally, these goods are perishable food items, hence they are altered to have longer shelf lives – by the addition of artificial preservatives like sulfites, nitrites etc. Preservatives, as we all are aware now, have a long and nasty history of side effects.
Mass-produced food items are the result of accelerated processing. Even products that are labelled ‘natural’ or ‘containing real fruits’ often contain a substantial amount of catalysts & synthetic additives. So much so, that they barely resemble the crops that were harvested in the farms. The rapid nature of the processing makes sure that the product nutrients and natural taste is compromised.
Artificial colors are added to food products to offset color loss due to light/air/temperature exposure (which is an integral side-effect of accelerated processing) , and are meant to “add value” to the product by making it more presentable. These artificial colours are known to contain carcinogens and may in some cases, cause allergic reactions.
Unfortunately, making food products has become as impersonal as you can imagine! Most brands today do not make the products themselves. Food products are either bought in bulk from smaller manufacturers and repackaged and branded or multiple ingredients are purchased in bulk and mixed together to create a new product. A healthier alternative to these chemicals-laden products is to choose artisanal brands that offer complete visibility of where their products come from and how they are processed and packed; products that are all natural, and offer the true goodness of their ingredients.
Your health should always remain your utmost priority, and you always have a choice in what you buy!