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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Deceptive Food Packaging - Welch's Concord Grape

Welch's Concord Grape Package InformationI present this as an excellent example of deceptive food packaging that seems so prominent into today's market. Everything about this package seems to say "grape juice" without actually saying it. This particular package was so well-designed that it neither my wife nor I noticed until tonight that it wasn't actually grape juice, but a Concord Grape FRUIT JUICE COCKTAIL.

(Click for larger image)

Once I saw the word "cocktail" I knew something was up. This a food industry jargon for "not really fruit juice" or maybe, 2% fruit juice. Then I noticed that the yellow banner on the top of the package said 100% Vitamin C, NOT 100% fruit juice, something I always look for when buying juices.

Sure enough, a scan of the ingredients shows that old nemesis, corn syrup, although not in its usual "high fructose" version. Just what we all need, more sugar and more calories in our diets. I think not.

Growing up drinking Welch's Grape Juice and using other Welch's products since I was born, (no relation, by the way), I had come to depend on them for wholesome products and straightforward, truthful packaging. In my opinion, this package is clearly designed to deceive. Through the use of the 100% wording, the Concord Grape, without the all-important "juice" and the minimization of the fruit juice cocktail labeling, Welch's is hoping that you won't notice you aren't buying their signature Welch's Grape Juice product, but a poor replacement.

Of course, if you let down your guard about the food you buy, as we obviously did in this case, companies will tale advantage of you, trying to wring out one more cent of profit by passing off the fake for the real.

Legal? Oh, I am certain it is.

Correct? Not in a million years!

Furthermore, the animosity it engenders when discovered can poison the customer/manufacturer relationship forever...even if your name is Welch.

On a side note, I have often written in my weekly column, Career Opportunities, that workers need to stand up against producing materials like this in the line of their work. In the case of this graphic designer, they were asked to design and execute a product container that, I believe, was explicitly designed to deceive. I can imagine they wouldn't like to be deceived by packaging...or have their mother deceived by packaging..., so why would they work at a company that asks them to do it to others...everyday. They are culpable in the deception of every person who buys this product.

All of us need to remember as workers that the golden rule still applies, even in our work. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Why does it seem so difficult to put that into practice?

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