Knott’s Berry Farm — For shame!

business and consumers, business cheers and jeers, food and nutrition, happy body, marketing and advertising

Okay, this is not a rant on junk food.  I think when people eat Cheez-wiz, they aren’t misguided enough to assume they’re eating healthful real cheese.  When people eat a double fudge brownie, I doubt they’re confusing this with an apple.  And when people eat Cap’n Crunch cereal, there’s no way they’d assume they’re consuming real fruit.  Oh, um, wait a minute, someone did?  Er, well, anyway, you get my point 😀

But seriously… sometimes there’s an absolute nasty & unhealthy food paired with such obnoxiously, blatantly misleading marketing that I can’t help calling a spade a hyrogenated [sic] artificially flavored spade.

First, the marketing that, by all means, should condemn some marketer to eternal dietary hell:

“In 1920, Walter and Cordelia Knott began selling fresh produce, berries, and preserves from a roadside berry stand in Buena Park, California.  Their family business earned a place in history in 1932 when Walter Knott cultivated a lucious new fruit, the boysenberry.  The farm that started it all has also become a family amusement park that delights millions. 

The Knott family is pleased to extend their tradition of quality to include premium shortbread cookies.  Richly flavorful, these classic favorites are prepared using popular Knott’s Berry farm fruit fillings.”

Let’s dissect this, shall we?

> In 1920, Walter and Cordelia Knott began selling fresh produce, berries, and preserves from a roadside berry stand in Buena Park, California.
…and boy, would they be horrified to see how their heirs have sold them out!

> …when Walter Knott cultivated a lucious new fruit, the boysenberry.
…which you’ll find all of likely one-tenth of a gram of in this plasticfood monstrosity.

> … premium shortbread cookies
… where “premium” means “premium profits for us, utter crap for you.”

> … Richly flavorful
… from lots of high fructose corn syrup

> … these classic favorites
… if you call a frankenstein concoction of chemicals “classic.”  Maybe a classic case of deceit.

> … using popular Knott’s Berry farm fruit fillings.
… oh, wait, we meant popular dental fillings!

*  *  *

But enough pre-commentary.  Without further ado, let’s take a look at these charming ingredients, shall we? (and out of kindness, I’ll substitute normal text for the ALL CAPS printed)

Enriched wheat flour [artificial vitamin enrichment crap omitted], margarine (liquid soybean oil, partially hyrogenated [sic] soybean oil, water, salt, whey, lecithin, mono and di-glycerides, sodium benzoate a preservative, artificial butter flavor, beta carotene and vitamin A palmitate), raspberry topping (high fructose corn syrup, red raspberries, apple powder, fruit pectin, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, calcium chloride, FD&C red #40 and blue #1), sugar, eggs, baking soda, natural and artificial flavor, baking ammonium, and salt.

Mmmm… delicious, no?  Just like Grandma would have made it… if she had access to a chemistry lab *and* passionately hated your guts.

Oh, and lookie here, (unsurprisingly) almost no redeeming nutritive qualities at all… little fiber or protein, and a charming 3 grams of trans-fat (I didn’t even know there were many packaged goods that still had this stuff in ‘em nowadays!)

For comparison, let’s take a look at a typical recipe for berry shortbread cookies:

1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract


Notice a difference?  Yes!  You recognize and can likely pronounce the ingredients, and there are fewer than a dozen of them.

*  *  *

Look, as I said, I don’t have a problem with companies making utter junkfood.  I do, however, have a problem about them so blatantly misrepresenting their product.  Even an intelligent acquaintance of mine said (without any prompting from me) that she used to eat these cookies every day for lunch, figuring that they were relatively harmless.  Oops!

P.S.—Might think twice before buying any of Knott’s Berry Farm jams or other products, eh?

19 comments… add one
  • Bang Del Jun 15, 2009 Link Reply

    Hello Adam
    Choose healthy food home-made 🙂

  • Lauren Reagan Jun 17, 2009 Link Reply

    Sad times indeed, all the way around! I always enjoy reading your posts.

  • bunn Jun 23, 2009 Link Reply

    I am not a food ingredient expert, but I do agree with and would be interested to hear your thoughts on the salads that are popular now and loaded with everything. kinda like the people who fight for the front parking spot at the gym.

  • Gry dla Dzieci Jun 24, 2009 Link Reply

    Haha, not being able to pronounce the ingredients names is an ingenious way of determining whether the food is healthy for you or not 😀 Seriously! Because I don’t know a person that couldn’t say “sugar”, but “sodium benzoate a preservative” ? wtf ? You want me to eat this ?:D Crazy.

  • darmowe mp3 Jul 5, 2009 Link Reply

    Damn that’s … evil ? I think this is the correct word for such a practice … People are so used to eating crap they don’t really think about it, as long as it has sugar 😉

  • Mark Jul 19, 2009 Link Reply

    I find the more crap they add to a product, the worse it tastes.  Even if it does keep for 27 years…

    I love the “old-fashioned” bad food – butter, cream, cheese, real chocolate, etc, etc!

  • Your’e absolutely right Adam. The junk food is so popular that people sometimes can’t see that the main ingredient there is crap. Everyone wants to advertise his product as a unique, best, great, healthy, safe etc. But the truth is that only thing that counts is profit. And to get bigger profits we need cheaper product. If that product is food, that means we need to get everything at the lowest available prices and produce from junk.
    Just awful.

  • JR Jul 26, 2009 Link Reply

    That kind of stuff that’s marketed as healthy by association really annoys me. “We make lots of other healthy things, and this product is great”. Most people would read that as that product is healthy because it’s misleading.

  • Markus Jul 29, 2009 Link Reply

    I enjoyed reading this post!
    And yeah .. lol .. they are EXACTLY as they would have been made tens of years ago 😉

    Haha .. this cheered up my day somehow!

  • Jason Aug 12, 2009 Link Reply

    It is better to eat a cookie than get a headache.

  • cheltenham Aug 17, 2009 Link Reply

    You see this a lot gets to me too! cheers for the post Adam.

  • Spas Oct 19, 2009 Link Reply

    Certainly misleading and very wrong in my opinion, people really do not know whats in their food.

    I hate trans-fats, they should be banned worldwide !

  • Faye Lara Oct 19, 2009 Link Reply

    Hmm, they really should be more up-front.

  • Earl Vin Oct 25, 2009 Link Reply

    Hey Adam, do you think that some articles are a reason why the vegan rate is rising?
    Or that the ingredients are also a reason about the reason that the most people get thicker?

  • gry winx Dec 18, 2009 Link Reply

    I hate trans-fats too and I totally agree with your opinion that they should be banned worldwide !

  • Simone Greeder Feb 7, 2010 Link Reply

    Yes, I would look for a ban, but don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon.

  • Jim Snowdan Feb 16, 2010 Link Reply

    Gah! trans-fats, lets go for the ban guys. Start an online petition?

  • Jerry May 16, 2010 Link Reply

    Online petition – not a bad idea, how would we go about doing this?

  • ThatAdamGuy Jun 12, 2010 Link Reply

    Bang Del, yep, homemmade will pretty much always win out. Except with my cooking skills, which are pathetically anemic! Tonight, my “dinner” was wheat crackers with peanut butter and drizzled honey, complimented by delicious tap water. Sad but true!

    Lauren, thanks for the kind words! 🙂

    Bunn, re: those huge salads you’ve brought up… from everything I’ve read, they are calorie bombs. The dressing alone — not to mention the oft accompanying bacon bits, etc. — often brings these dishes past the calorie levels of double-burgers-and-fries! 😮

    “I love the “old-fashioned” bad food – butter, cream, cheese, real chocolate, etc, etc!”
    Yep, Mark, I agree!

    szampon, what you noted about profit motive is probably true, and indeed sad 🙁

    And to the rest of you, thank you also for the comments and glad to hear so many of you feel similarly annoyed / upset by these practices!

What do you think?