Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nasty Food Contest-Results!


Alright, it took quite a while to get all our results in! After many weeks of speculating, the results are finally here...

If you have missed our earlier blog, the contest was to try and find the worst food possible and share the joy and amazement of your find. This was an international effort, with nasty concoctions, dubious ingredients, and awful marketing strategies.

There were many submissions, so thank you everyone for your valiant effort.

Let's start with our first finalist from down under:

What is it you say? Why these are popsicles, mixed and ready to go, you just freeze them yourself. And yes, they are in cute seahorse or koala shapes, what is not to like about that? And don't worry, you can always keep this one until you truly think the time is right. It is apparently quite good to eat until 2016...

Runner up, we have here a truly unique choice of ingredients and packaging choices. Hot dog balls, yes that's right, enhanced with a subtle yet delightful chicekn flavor, and then, wait for it... infused with cheese shots that will melt in your mouth. All of this artfully wrapped in a cute to-go box.

I do have a small bias against our next contestant who comes to us from the farmer's fair in the depths of La Belle France.

As far as healthy, fresh, and organic food, he is a winner. This is pure, fresh, food. Locally raised, with only ONE ingredient. So let me be clear, this is not the worst food possible. However, we must all agree that although this big box of tongues looks delish, it is not for everyone pallet (pun intended).

This next item was suggested as unhealthy food by a fellow Swiss friend. Just our basic ham sandwich.

Why did I include this one? To show the different point of views in different countries. Considered fast food and junk food in Swizterland, it would have been chosen as a healthy lunch choice here in our old US of A.

An intriguing competing duo for this category that I liked to call fluffy fructose fun, we have a tie ladies and gentlemen. These two contestants, although separated by several thousand miles of ocean, agreed that marshmallow art is truly a category worthy of mention.

"Birthday Surprise" from Belfort, France

"Easter Cuties" from Nashville, Tennessee 

Now a special category for most-un-ecofriendly packaging, this one comes to us from Prescott, Arizona.

I think we should all learn a valuable lesson here and try and ruin our attempt at healthy food by buying products in hard plastic shells that will biodegrate in 4,000 years or so.

Drinks were not as popular a choice, so this is one I picked myself, based on color and ingredients.

There are not enough blue foods in this world I tell you, so let's invent some shall we? Blue raspberry juice! And what is the key to blue raspberry goodness? Apparently vegetable oil, yes it is listed as one of the ingredients; who woulda thunk?

Moving on with most creative product name for a food item, I give you, from Mexico:
THE Skwinklote!

I dared not taste it, but secret ingredients include tamarind juice and cayenne pepper.
Probably something to grab if you are in need of a last minute bowel cleanse at the checkout aisle.

And there you have them ladies and gentlemen, please let's give a big round of applause to all our contestants, you are all winners my friends!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vamos a Walmart

Wow, it's been a month since I've posted any smart-ass posts. Gotta change that!
One reason I haven't written anything in a while is that we went back to Mexico. Again. Geesh.

I could post the same comments as the last time around. It was beautiful. And peaceful. And relaxing. Aaah...

But on this trip, we went all out and visited Walmart; Mexico-style.
I actually believe that the giant "Bodega Aurerra" in Rocky Point is owned and operated by Walmart. All in all it was pretty similar to what you can get in a Walmart in the States. The usual dollar items, the giant aisles of prepackaged food for low low prices... And let me tell you, don't worry, Walmart has done a fine job of expanding the boundaries of junk food to international levels.

But I was searching for cultural/linguistic/regional differences.
Here are a few notable ones in my opinion.

Cool local produce

Fresh-cut nopales

Tortilla factory

What I thought was pretty interesting is the marketing/packaging of Walmart products in foreign countries. In this case, they changed the logo to better target a Mexican audience. And it is definitely not targeted for your average American. Even if Walmart had a "supergirl" as a logo, she'd be closer in looks to Pamela Anderson than Rosie O'Donnell (no offense Rosie, I think you're cool).

This supermujer is pretty gordita if you ask me. We would never use her as an advertizing icon in the US, even though she represents the average American pretty well. The color scheme is pretty different too, boring white Walmarts in the States, bright green Walmarts in Mexico.

And we are still cutting down prices, but it's a little more graphic south of the border!

US Logo 

Mexican Logo
Although it was an interesting trip to the grocery store, don't do like me, you can spend a week without your Walmart essentials. Go to a real bodega... buy your fruit and veggies from a local stand, find a nice little old lady to sell you fresh tortillas, or buy some seafood at the docks.