Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hershey's regular milk

Yesterday, Mark Frauenfelder at boingboing had a funny post about an incompetent fast food restaurant poster, with an incomprehensible offer of some sort of two-for-one deal at Checkers and Rally's. The related links section at the bottom referenced an earlier Frauenfelder post about Hershey's selling regular milk.
I was walking down Van Nuys boulevard with my daughter, enjoying the 103 degree weather over the weekend, when she demanded milk. We went into a Burger King and I ordered a milk. When the employee handed me this bottle,... I told her I didn't want chocolate milk. She said it wasn't chocolate milk. I had to look at the ingredients to make sure.

Three questions come to mind. 1) Why is Hershey's in the business of selling regular milk? 2) And why would it insist on making the label look chocolately? -- it would be like Lipton selling a bottle of water with pictures of tea leaves and a lemon on it. 3) And why Hershey's they make the label opaque so you can't tell at a glance if the milk is flavored or not?
I don't think the Hershey's label is an accident. Milk manufacturers are purposely blurring the distinction between flavored milks with added sugar and regular milks. They want your mental filing system to file flavored milk in the "healthy" folder instead of the "sugary drinks" folder. Voluntary industry guidelines for marketing beverages in schools are written specifically to permit sweetened flavored milk, so long as the sugar content meets a certain standard.


Mark said...

The label only looks chocolately to the extent that Hershey's logo is brown. Why not applaud Hershey for selling regular milk rather than jump to a "grassy knoll" conspiracy theory conclusion?

Parke Wilde said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Parke Wilde said...

Hardly a conspiracy theory.

The National Dairy Council, part of the federal government's dairy checkoff program, heavily promotes flavored milk.

"In general, flavored milks are milks to which a sweetened flavors such as cocoa or cocoa powder, strawberry or vanilla extract has been added, along with a sweetener such as sucrose or high fructose corn syrup.... [S]ome parents, teachers, school food service directors, and school principals express concern ... that certain components in flavored milks such as added sugars may be detrimental to children's health and behavior."

Oh, those silly parents, teachers, and principals!