Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I was contemplating the recent purchase of Britain's Cadbury by Kraft Foods for 19.5 billion dollars. That seems like a high price to pay for chocolate. But where my mind really wandered to was the ingredient differences and the quality between U.S. and Europe.
I love chocolate, but I never liked Cadbury. My husband would see it in the store and suggest it, and I'd steer him to something else. He'd be surprised and say that Cadbury was considered a very good chocolate in France (birth place). "Really?"
Then Danny brought home a Cadbury bar from one of his flights to England. He offered a bite. I hesitated but tried. "Oh, my gosh, where have you been all my life?" It was good. Out of curiosity, I saved the wrapper and later compared it to the American version. Same wrapper, different ingredients. The American version had cheaper quality ingredients. I wish I had them to show you. This was a long time ago, and I no longer have the wrappers.
This also happened with a can of Coke. Danny brought one home from England. Not that soda is ever healthy, but England's Coke had real ingredients. For example, it had sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. HFCS, if I recall, is banned in Europe, or parts of Europe. The can was also smaller.
Why do we Americans still put up with inferior ingredients like HFCS and partially hydrogenated oil (aka trans fat aka hydrolyzed protein)? Is it a cheaper way to feed the masses or a lucrative industry to make billions?
Junk is cheap. On my binge the other day, I couldn't resist the super jumbo Butterfingers (bigger than large) for ONLY $0.30 each. And those Little Debbie's: each box was only a dollar-somethin' for all of those little cakes. What a deal! What a bargain!
But how much did I really pay when I ate them?