Overinvolved Mom > jargon
Nothing sets off my inner copy editor like a cheerful, brightly colored sign full of advertising nonsense.
And grammatical errors. (Oh, how I love to find those grammatical errors.)
“We use REAL ingredients because it’s better for you.”
(First off, is Menchie’s trying to tell us that its ingredients are better for us? In that case, the subject it was looking for is “they.” The ingredients are a “they,” not an “it.” Of course, this presumes that Menchie’s was not simply using an unclear antecedent in the signs that were posted at stores this fall.)
And I am glad to hear that the ingredients are real, and thus do in fact exist. I do hate when I buy food that is a figment of my imagination.
The company clearly wants to tell us that it uses “real ingredients.” Real ingredients as opposed to fake ingredients, I suppose. One could assume that if the ingredients are fake, that they do not in fact exist. Saying that an ingredient is “real” doesn’t give us a whole lot of evidence about what kind of ingredient it is. Just merely that it’s in there, and that it has, um, matter.
Most people will be excited by that and assume that this unregulated and meaningless term “REAL” means that the ingredients are “pure ” (another term meaning nothing), or from organic milk, or more healthful than other kinds of frozen yogurt.
You see, Menchie’s never actually does make that claim, in a legal sense. But the company’s chest-pounding about realness sure does make you feel like you must be doing something healthy as you eat your candy-covered frozen dessert.
But any ingredient that is present in any concoction, anywhere, is “real.”
Even, if it’s, say, artificial flavors. Yup, they are in there. Up near the top of the list for the flavor cinnayumm bun. “Natural & artificial flavors” are on there, right next to modified food starch — perhaps another favorite of the crowd looking for real, healthful ingredients?
These are listed before the third last ingredient, which is … artificial flavor. Apparently, Menchie’s stuff is so real they had to put in artificial flavors twice, in two separate listings.
But I have to give the chain a break, because the company wasn’t making a claim that really goes against any laws. Menchie’s was simply stretching the boundaries of language, and praising the virtues of a product that does, in fact, exist.
Unless, that is, the company wants to make us believe that frozen yogurt flavors full of artificial flavors and covered in commercially produced candy are in fact, from nature (you know, REAL ingredients).
Now that might be misleading.
After all, Menchie’s only said it uses real ingredients. Not that all of its ingredients are real.
Did you read that sign wrong?
Cinnayumm bun ingredients:
Here are ingredients for the flavor pineapple cake, which bears an impressive badge telling us it contains “real pineapple cake batter.” The ingredients also list the very real “natural & artificial flavors” and later, “natural & artificial flavor,” as well as Yellow Lake 6 and Yellow Lake 5. All real. (On another day, I will discuss how natural flavor is no guarantee of anything close to nature, either.)
The flavor harvest pumpkin boasts natural & artificial flavors, as well as the very real food colorings Yellow 5, Red 40 and Yellow 6: