Where's The Juice? Commercial Speech versus Truth in Advertising
August 1, 2014 8:30 PM   Subscribe

 
Oh, how I love John Oliver.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:42 PM on August 1, 2014 [5 favorites]


This comment contains absolutely no insect parts or dangerous chemical additives.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:00 PM on August 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure that "sucks less" is justified by the evidence.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:04 PM on August 1, 2014


"The characterizing flavor of bullshit" is my next username.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:22 PM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


That episode of Last Week Tonight previously.
posted by Shmuel510 at 9:28 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Now contains 2% or less of rat urine.
posted by supermassive at 9:28 PM on August 1, 2014


I would caution anyone thinking of using those images on unpaid-for items in an actual store to think of the impact that this will have on the employees who have to deal with what you did.
posted by Dante Riordan at 9:52 PM on August 1, 2014 [19 favorites]


So I was watching this and thinking about the ways I've seen ingredient lists manipulated to allow some more desirable ingredients to be listed earlier (Usually by grouping thing and then listing sub-ingredients, or by listing classes of things together). So it seems like if Coke wanted to, they could find a way to list pomegranate juice first, despite the eyedropper.

So I was thinking if they put in pure pomegranate juice but used concentrate for the apple and grape juice. The problem with this plan is that then water would end up being the first ingredient, which would give away the apple juice ruse. So I think the solution is the following: Coke can sell Minute-Maid branded pomegranate juice concentrate. The ingredients would be "pomegranate juice, apple juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate." The trick would be to use very concentrated concentrate, then add water and then re-concentrate the whole thing. You don't have to list water that you've evaporated away in the ingredient list.

I'm surprised they're not doing this already. Maybe the work and cost of re-concentrating isn't worth the few people who read the ingredient list.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:04 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Dante: Will those employees have their hours cut? Will they have their pay docked? Will they be denied bathroom breaks?

Or will they have to do the shitty job of removing stickers instead of their other shitty part(s) of their job?

I would caution anyone thinking of using those images on unpaid-for items in an actual store to think of the impact it will have on the store - ie: locally owned stores cannot afford to pay their employees to remove stickers. Large multibillion dollar chain grocery stores probably can.
posted by el io at 10:25 PM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dante: Will those employees have their hours cut? Will they have their pay docked? Will they be denied bathroom breaks?

If you had bothered to read the link, you would have seen that that is precisely what happens according to the people doing those jobs.

Or will they have to do the shitty job of removing stickers instead of their other shitty part(s) of their job?

Likely they would have to do the crappy job of removing stickers in addition to the rest of their crappy duties.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:54 PM on August 1, 2014 [14 favorites]


Pom bottles make very nice water bongs.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 11:40 PM on August 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


Actually, John Oliver's swipe at the Pop-Tarts commercial is itself bad science: there's no robust evidence for a link between sugar and hyperactivity.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:12 AM on August 2, 2014 [12 favorites]


Juice is murder.
posted by Pudhoho at 4:32 AM on August 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Actually, John Oliver's swipe at the Pop-Tarts commercial is itself bad science: there's no robust evidence for a link between sugar and hyperactivity.

True, but at the very least, it was a joke made out of ignorance rather than an active effort to trick people into buying something.
posted by AllShoesNoSocks at 6:06 AM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you had bothered to read the link, you would have seen that that is precisely what happens according to the people doing those jobs.

Hm. What one person employed in such a job says is: "This comes out of our store’s budget and can eventually make us go under budget which has all of our hours cut". Firstly, this specific claim seems unlikely. I believe that most shops are run to maximise profit, and as such it is likely that staff hours will be the minimum required in any case. However, I accept the general point that harming employers does harm their employees to some extent.

Secondly, the fact that action against employers causes some harm to employees doesn't seem like a very strong argument against it. Not all of the harm is transferred to employees, after all. It seems to me like an effective campaign is likely to justify the harm, whereas something that just gets borne by the employer as a cost, and essentially ignored, is likely to harm employees in an unjustifiable way.

I see no reference to pay docking or the loss of bathroom breaks in your link.
posted by howfar at 6:16 AM on August 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Related: if your name is Michael and you're considering a bottle of Coca-Cola, don't.
posted by Fizz at 6:17 AM on August 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


There is afaik no link between sugar and immediate hyperactivity but schools that enforce better diets do apparently see significant improvements in behavior and learning. So he's correct epidemiologically.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:17 AM on August 2, 2014 [3 favorites]


Hm. What one person employed in such a job says is: "This comes out of our store’s budget and can eventually make us go under budget which has all of our hours cut". Firstly, this specific claim seems unlikely. I believe that most shops are run to maximise profit, and as such it is likely that staff hours will be the minimum required in any case.

Every single retail store or grocer that I've worked at or that friends have worked at had staffing decisions made on the basis of plugging in some numbers - total sales, shrink, etc. - into a middle manager's spreadsheet and then being told how many hours they can staff. It's stupid and ignores a bunch of other metrics that would be better, but it easy and clear and that's all the payroll manager cares about.

Increased shrink gets plugged in: hours get cut.
posted by Metafilter Username at 6:50 AM on August 2, 2014 [6 favorites]


Fizz: "Related: if your name is Michael and you're considering a bottle of Coca-Cola, don't."

Wow, that news story has everything. The events are almost gothic, and there's a rather Night Valian tone to the reporting. (That last line!!) I hope Coca-Cola improve the treatment of staff in the bottling plant as a result of this.

(Also: can I say it? Can I say it? ... Eponysterical!)
posted by daisyk at 7:19 AM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


That news story is satire.
posted by dabitch at 7:36 AM on August 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


In related news: Peanuts: May contain peanuts.
posted by tommasz at 8:00 AM on August 2, 2014


If only I had a penguin So I was thinking if they put in pure pomegranate juice but used concentrate for the apple and grape juice. The problem with this plan is that then water would end up being the first ingredient, which would give away the apple juice ruse. So I think the solution is the following: Coke can sell Minute-Maid branded pomegranate juice concentrate. The ingredients would be "pomegranate juice, apple juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate." The trick would be to use very concentrated concentrate, then add water and then re-concentrate the whole thing. You don't have to list water that you've evaporated away in the ingredient list.

The USDA is onto your shenanigans. Reconstituted ingredients need to count the weight of the water required for reconstitution when determining order of the concentrate in the ingredient declaration. A juice made with whole pomegranate juice, concentrated apple and pear juices, and water would be listed as, "Water, Apple Juice From Concentrate, Pear Juice From Concentrate, Pomegranate Juice" assuming that the weight of reconstituted apple and pear juice was more than the pomegranate juice. 22 CFR 101.4 23c.

(I do food packaging labeling for a living.)
posted by nathan_teske at 8:25 AM on August 2, 2014 [10 favorites]


Right, I got that part, which is why I was suggesting the whole thing be re-concentrated and sold as concentrate based on this: "If all water added during processing is subsequently removed by baking or some other means during processing, water need not be declared as an ingredient." So I'm thinking if you boil away as much as you added, you don't have to list the water and you can go on your merry way with your consumer deception.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:38 AM on August 2, 2014


Oh oh that would be fine then. I was misreading and thinking we were still talking about bottled juice.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:06 AM on August 2, 2014


dabitch: "That news story is satire."

Aww. :(
posted by daisyk at 9:12 AM on August 2, 2014


From the Wikipedia page on the suit:

The Coca-Cola Company, through its Minute Maid division, created a pomegranate-blueberry juice product that in reality was 99.4% apple and grape juices. The front label of its package carried the words "pomegranate blueberry" in capital letters, below which the phrase "flavored blend of 5 juices" appeared in much smaller type, followed in still smaller type by "from concentrate with added ingredients and other natural flavors" (presented over two lines).

That is pitiful.
posted by Slinga at 9:26 AM on August 2, 2014 [3 favorites]




Conclusions section of the same paper: "This may reflect a long-term nutritional imbalance, or differences in parenting style."
posted by kiltedtaco at 11:11 AM on August 2, 2014


That is pitiful.

That is exactly how most cranberry "cocktails" have been labelled for decades. Look at the ingredients, and apple juice is first 99% of the time, but nowhere to be found on the front label.

(Which is really frustrating. The only actual 100% cranberry juice I can find anywhere is at the health food store, marked up exorbitantly, and labelled -- misleadingly -- "FOR URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS!")
posted by Sys Rq at 11:42 AM on August 2, 2014


My roommate's had the same situation with cranberry juice. Her doctor said to start drinking it, but everything at the Giant is from concentrate, or a "cocktail", or has sugar added to make it palatable.

Fortunately, there's a Trader Joe's nearby, and that's got the pure stuff for $3.99 a quart. Which isn't terrible.
posted by kafziel at 12:10 PM on August 2, 2014


I love the clueless Coca-Cola. I'm guessing their lobbyists got the FDA rules written with loopholes that allowed them to put "Pomegranate Blueberry" on the label when it only has 0.5 percent pomegranate and blueberry juice, and they thought this would give them immunity from (in my opinion) lying to the public. Then the Supreme Court says, 'Sorry, no immunity for you,"

And then Coke responds with:
"[The company is] committed to clear labeling that fully complies with FDA regulations."

In other words, "We payed for that loophole and we're sticking with it!"
posted by eye of newt at 3:46 PM on August 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Coming from the experience of working at a grocery chain and knowing how many boxes of food were thrown away due to minor dings, holes, cuts, and faded labels that did not in any way effect the food products inside, all I can say is that it's a whole lot easier to throw a defaced box away than peel off a sticker.

We once had a recall of a product that mistakenly had been labeled as 12oz instead of 10oz and the company only wanted the bag returned not the product so we cut open dozens of little bags, dumped the product out, and mailed the empty bags back for credit.

So, labels cause a ridiculous amount of waste, is what I have learned.
posted by M Edward at 4:00 PM on August 2, 2014


Fortunately, there's a Trader Joe's nearby, and that's got the pure stuff for $3.99 a quart

My exact reaction whenever I read anything about the pomegranate juice rip-off labeled "Pom."
posted by Rash at 4:23 PM on August 2, 2014


This sort of stuff is actually illegal in most places I've been. The USA is a real outlier on this: a developed country with incredibly weak regulation of food labelling.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:28 PM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Australia is the only country I know of that specifically addresses the problem by requiring the listing of the percentage of the key ingredient.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:37 PM on August 2, 2014


Sys Rq, I think the EU does too.
Quantity of ingredients or categories of ingredients expressed as a percentage
This requirement applies when an ingredient or a category of ingredients: applies when an ingredient or a category of ingredients:
  • appears in the name under which the foodstuff is sold or is usually associated with that name by the consumer,
  • is emphasised on the labelling in words, pictures or graphics,
  • or is essential to characterise an indicated foodstuff (but certain exceptions may be provided);
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:52 PM on August 2, 2014


The USA is a real outlier on this: a developed country with incredibly weak regulation,

full stop. Protection of the consumer in the US takes a distant back seat to corporate profits.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:05 AM on August 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


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