Suggestion Box: Debunking the Fake Food News

Norman Weiss, Weavers Way Purchasing Manager

Greetings and thanks for writing. As usual, suggestions and responses may have been edited for brevity, clarity, and/or comedy. In addition, no idea, concept, issue, remark, phrase, description of event, word, or word string should be taken seriously. This also applies to the previous sentence.

Since fake news is in the news a lot, I wanted to share some of the fake news I see on a routine basis, typically known as “marketing.” I recently got a marketing blurb for a new line of pizza from Field Day, which positions itself as the house value brand for natural food stores (like the 365 brand at Whole Foods). The Field Day marketing message includes language about how their products are simple and use few ingredients. Below is their marketing blurb followed by the ingredients on one of their new pizzas (italics mine):


We believe in where our food comes from

Our goal is to fill your home with a wide selection of value-priced items that you can use and feel good about every day. Our harvest of Non-GMO, organic and quality products is delicious and genuinely simple. We take a less-is-more approach with our ingredients and packaging. No confusion, just what you need. That’s Field Day.

Field Day Uncured Chicken Pepperoni Pizza

INGREDIENTS: Water, wheat flour, low moisture part skim mozzarella cheese (pasteurized part skim milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes), organic uncured chicken pepperoni: no nitrates or nitrites added except for those naturally occurring in cultured celery juice powder and sea salt (organic chicken, sea salt, organic cane sugar, organic spices, organic paprika, cultured celery juice powder, organic rosemary extract, organic garlic powder, lactic acid starter culture), tomato paste (tomatoes), organic soybean oil, contains 2% or less of seasoning mix (organic cane sugar, salt, organic tapioca syrup solids, organic onion powder, organic spices, organic cheddar cheese [organic milk, cultures, salt, enzymes], oil of anise), organic cane sugar, leavening (encapsulated sodium bicarbonate [sodium bicarbonate, palmatic acid, palm oil], monocalcium phosphate, corn starch), yeast, corn starch, sea salt, sugar, salt.

I count about 24 different ingredients. This is the execution of “genuinely simple.”

The other marketing claim I see a lot is “certified compostable,” mostly on packaging. Sometimes the items are fiber-based and sometimes they’re plant-based plastic. All of the fiber-based items I’ve seen to date that claim to be “compostable” yet can withstand liquid without getting soggy, have a coating that renders the package compostable in theory only, not in practice. You need specialized equipment to compost it, which no one that I know of has or does. This is true for 100% plant-based plastic items, too. Even if you had the equipment, you probably wouldn’t use it for this stuff, as it takes months to compost, and you wouldn’t tie up the equipment that way; you’d use it for shorter cycle composting like food and paper waste.

That these items are made from bagasse and other fibers or plant resins (bioplastic) is the main enviromental advantage. They may be better on the production end since they are not petroleum based, but they are still landfill on the disposal end (and unlike some plastics, are not recyclable). I think for truly sustainable eating, we have to eliminate all disposable packaging and utensils; people can just dip their hands into buckets of food. It works for many primates and is the most natural form of eating. The Paleo diet should include this part of eating to be a truly Paleo diet.

suggestions and responses:

s: “So disappointed that you stopped stocking Liberte lavender yogurt, the best!”

r: (Matt MA) Unfortunately, Liberte lavender is no longer available to us. I’m not sure if Liberte discontinued the flavor or if our distributor did; it was not our decision to drop it.

s: “Please consult the Chestnut Hill street fair schedule before agreeing to a fall festival date in Mt. Airy. Both stores are inaccessible to shoppers today because of large street fairs that significantly limit access for shoppers. Please avoid this in the future!”

r: (Norman) Excellent point and sorry this happened. Planning for the Mt Airy Village Fair usually starts in March and there are a variety of factors that go into picking the date, including not overlapping with other neighborhood events, holidays, organizers’ availability, etc. We’ll see if we can find out more about other neighborhood events in 2020 and avoid overlap if possible.

s: “The bulk section is great, but what about bulk bins for essentials like water and oxygen? The carbon footprint is very low and without them we will surely perish.”

r: (Norman) The bulk bin for water is the Wissahickon Creek. We sell filters that sift out the goose & fish excrement, dead insects, and auto drippings. We tried selling bulk oxygen, but couldn’t find a bulk bin that allowed it to be scooped. We can cool it down to liquid phase, but we don’t really do bulk frozen, except blueberries in Ambler.

s: “Why are there so few suggestions this month?”

r: (Norman) Suggestions Book suggestions have been dwindling over the years. Maybe everyone is happy with everything so there is nothing to suggest. Maybe writing with a pen is becoming a lost art. Maybe people don’t want to take the time. Maybe we should switch to a social media platform.

The thing about social media is that it is 100% dependent on electricity, usually from a battery which is usually charged by the power grid, often fueled by fossil fuels. Compare this to writing on paper, which uses no external power, just human energy that comes from food. A lot more organic and longer lasting.