Kenco 2in1 coffee sachets recently had a somewhat unhealthy, but unadvertised ingredients change. So does it bother you when your favorite products change?
I like knowing what I’m eating. Not in a picky way – I’m often the first to dive into a tray of mystery sandwiches at a lunch meeting. I’m one of those people who stands for a full 5 minutes in a grocery aisle comparing two versions of a product I need, down to the last xanthan gum versus maltodextrin on the ingredients list.
Once I’ve thoroughly vetted my choices, I don’t do an ingredient scan on my next shopping trip. I figure, I know exactly what I’m buying. So that’s why it irritates me when these products change…
Recently, Kenco made changes to their 2in1 smooth white coffee sachets. The coffee content decreased by 48%, and the sugar content increased by 168%.
The new nutritional information is on the product, but the change wasn’t clear or advertised.
Kenco told us the shift is due to a new ‘stronger’ and ‘higher quality’ coffee, and the reduced amount creates the ‘desired flavour profile’. Alongside this, it said the calories, fat and saturated fat had been cut.
Of course adding or increasing ingredients in which sugar naturally occurs, like milk, to a product will increase the overall sugar content. Except it’s usually hard to see that breakdown on nutrition labels and leaves us wondering just how much added sugar we’re consuming.
It also leaves me wondering if the changed composition is to create the ‘bliss point’, the combination of sugar, salt, and sometimes fat that companies create in products to maximize our cravings or make us like a product best.
I know companies make changes to products. I find it’s easier to notice and accept a change when it’s accompanied by jazzy new packaging designs, or flashy banners saying things like, ‘Now even bolder!’. Prompts like this occasionally catch my eye and I’ll check to see what’s new.
For example, I’m picky with my peanut butter. If I see a new ‘natural’ peanut butter I check if it has added palm, or similar, oil. The phrasing might lead me to believe it’s the healthier option because it’s natural, but it still has added fat in a product that can be good without it.
Vague, buzzword infused descriptions seem to accompany product changes that have unclear changes. Conversely, it’s often obvious when companies roll out products with healthier nutritional changes. Lower sugar versions of products are heralded with specific detail, often displayed prominently and highlighting the change with a clear phrase like, ‘Now with 70% less sugar.’
The introduction of traffic light labelling has been a useful tool in helping to detangle actual nutritional information from the marketing hype. Thankfully, around two-thirds of products now carry this labelling system, but that means we’re still left ingredients scanning for the remaining third.
We place trust in the brands we buy faithfully, so it would be nice to know they value our conscious consumption rather than our uninformed loyalty.
But it should be an informed choice. It’s difficult to feel in charge of your health if you’re not aware you’re picking out a product different to one you previously bought.
I’d like it if I didn’t have to worry about hidden ingredients each time I visit the supermarket, so that when I do up my sugar intake by that much, it’s because I’m consciously eating 168% more cake.
So, does it bother you when the ingredients change on your preferred products? Do you think it should be made clearer so that you can make an informed choice? Would you like to see all products carrying traffic light labelling?