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November 26, 2018

Your Frozen Turkey Was Probably 10% Water

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:52 am

Anyone who has cooked corned beef from a Cryovac package knows that it shrinks up to nothing after boiling. And ham often suffers the same fate. In prior stories we have explained that both corned beef and ham are often injected with up to a 35% water and salt solution. Nothing like paying meat prices for water.

Now we turn to turkeys. At least in Boston, turkeys were offered at a giveaway price this year — 39 cents a pound — at a number of major chains. And at least one store did not require a $25 minimum purchase to snare one at that crazy low price. To MrConsumer’s surprise, however, all the 39-cent turkeys had been bulked up with “solution,” like a body builder on steroids.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Turkeys injected with solution

Various brands checked had all been injected with 9.5 percent water, salt, sugar, and flavoring. This is really nothing new, but it just wasn’t as obvious before (including to MrConsumer). Why? There was a change in USDA labeling rules as of 2018 that makes the presence of solution hard to miss. Now the added water weight must be disclosed in type at least 1/3 the size of the name of the product.

Why is solution even there to start with? Certainly there are sensory benefits to having turkeys pre-basted to make them more moist. And no doubt the companies make extra money by fattening up the birds with water.

Thank goodness it is only 9.5%, and not 35% as with other meats.




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November 19, 2018

Clorox Splashless Is Also “Disinfectless”

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 8:48 am

A Missouri consumer is fed up with Clorox brand bleach. She has been waging a three-year long campaign against one of the company’s most popular products that she thinks is being packaged and marketed in a deceptive way. We think she has a point.

There are two primary types of Clorox bleach:

Clorox bleaches

The one on the left is regular Clorox and the one on the right is their “splashless” version. Note how similar the labels are.

According to the company, they came out with a thicker splashless variety because customers complained about the regular type which could inadvertently splatter where it was not intended.

As it turns, that is not the only difference between the two products. Only on the back of the label does the company disclose the following about the splashless product:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Clorox Splashless disclaimer

That’s right, surprise, the splashless version does not disinfect or sanitize. And while certainly many use bleach merely to whiten their laundry others do expect it to sanitize also.

A check of the ingredients statements also reveals a surprise.

*MOUSE PRINT:

ingredients

While the exact amount of the disinfectant, sodium hypochlorite, is stated on the regular product, it is conspicuously missing on the splashless variety. One might reasonably conclude that there is not enough of the active ingredient in the splashless product to sanitize or disinfect properly.

We asked The Clorox Company why they don’t more conspicuously disclose that the splashless variety does not sanitize or disinfect and why the amount of the primary active ingredient is not disclosed. The company did not respond to our questions by publication time.




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November 12, 2018

Slick Olive Oil Label Designed to Deceive

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:56 am

Most shoppers don’t spend a lot of time scrutinizing product labels in the supermarket. And that might be what one manufacturer is counting on.

In what appears to be one of the most deceptive labels ever, this extra virgin olive oil brand seems to be deliberately trying to put one over on consumers.

Iberia full bottle

Only on closer inspection does the true nature of this product reveal itself:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Iberia oil closeup

You will have to look closely at this picture taken from the Target website. It reveals in thin black type on a dark green background that the content of the bottle is really “sunflower oil and extra virgin olive oil.” How diluted with sunflower oil is this product?

*MOUSE PRINT:

Iberia ingredients

Look carefully. This product is really only 20% extra virgin olive oil and the rest is sunflower oil.

Now, the front of the product does say “premium blend” but that does not clearly convey the true nature of this product in MrConsumer’s view. One might believe this means, for example, that it is a blend of various extra virgin oils from several regions.

So how does this company get away with a label so seemingly deceptive? No one had gone after them — until last month. A New York law firm just filed a class action lawsuit against the company alleging that its label is violating the deceptive practice consumer protection laws of all 50 states. Among the claims being made is that the product is not delivering the expected health benefits that purchasers expect because it is not 100% olive oil.




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October 22, 2018

Thanks for Nothing, Sears and Kmart

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Humor,Internet,Retail,Thanks for Nothing — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:06 am

It is with a tinge of sadness that we lament the passing of hundreds more Sears and Kmart stores following their filing for bankruptcy last week. However, some of the dumb things that they have done can turn off consumers. For example, when retailers advertise a sale or reduced prices, shoppers expect to save money and be offered a good price. Sometimes, however, that wasn’t always the case at Sears and Kmart.

Example 1:

Just when Sears announced they were filing for bankruptcy last week, the local Sears in Cambridge, MA which had just started its own store closing sale, was adding an extra incentive — an extra 10% off your total purchase.

Sears 10% off

Great, except for one thing — the fine print on the coupon.

*MOUSE PRINT:

not at the register

What, you can’t use the coupon in the store and this is a store only coupon?

As it turns out, who knows what that really means because the Sears in Cambridge was automatically giving folks the extra 10% at the register, even without the coupon.


Example 2:

A couple of months ago, Sears MasterCard offered an unbelievable “month long” deal — get 20% back in points if you use the card at gas stations.

*MOUSE PRINT:

month long promotion

Apparently February has been displaced by August as the shortest month of the year.


Example 3:

People think that shopping online will generally save you money. These items at Kmart.com from marketplace sellers, however, challenge that assumption big time.

bread

.

matzo

.

Tide

Thanks for nothing, Sears and Kmart, for all these “deals.”


If you spot an outrageous or funny offer, please submit it to edgar (at symbol) mouseprint.org .




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September 17, 2018

Aldi Waters Down Its Margarine… Literally

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:56 am

Aldi is an international chain of limited assortment supermarkets known for very low prices on most items. They carry very few national brands. Rather, store brands dominate their shelves.

In recent months, MrConsumer noticed price increases on various items there like cookies, peanut butter, pretzels, and more. One particular item, their 45-ounce tub of margarine, has had two price increases in recent months. It had been $1.79 for years, but jumped to $1.99 several months ago, and shortly thereafter went up again to $2.29.

Aldi margarine old

Last week, there was another change to this product. The margarine now comes in a rectangular tub:

Aldi margarine new

A closer examination of the package, however, revealed an additional change that was very unwelcome.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Aldi 51%

VS.

Aldi 40%

They cut the amount of oil in the product by over 20 percent. So what replaced the oil? Water! In fact, the primary ingredient in this margarine is now water, whereas previously it was oil.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Aldi margarine ingredients

We asked Aldi’s PR agency to explain why they literally watered down this product rather than raise the price, why they didn’t label the product as a new formulation, and whether they conducted any consumer taste tests to demonstrate that consumers preferred the new version. They declined to answer the questions.

Sadly, name brand tub “spreads” like Country Crock and Blue Bonnet are also only 39-40% oil these days. I don’t know about you, but MrConsumer just loves to spread emulsified water on his crisp English muffins.




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