Recently, I talked about how the economy has caused advertisers to shift their message to value. In this ad, Kraft says its Macaroni & Cheese is cheap (“about a dollar a box”) and kids love it. Actually, they say that “everyone” loves it, but they’re clearly focusing on kids in the ad.
They used a child model whose hair is roughly the same color as the macaroni & cheese, which I’m sure was intentional, although the reason escapes me.
I’m not saying that macaroni & cheese is bad for kids. In moderation, there shouldn’t be any problem with feeding this to kids once in awhile. It’s probably healthier than a meal at McDonald’s. But it’s fairly high in calories (410 calories, which, according to the American Heart Association, is 41% of the daily recommended calories for children ages 2-3) , fat (3.5 grams), sodium (580 mg, 58% of the recommended daily sodium for children ages 2-3, according to the Mayo Clinic), and contains a chemical called sodium tripolyphosphate, which in addition to being used as a food preservative, is also
…a solid inorganic compound used in a large variety of household cleaning products, mainly as a builder, but also in human foodstuffs, animal feeds, industrial cleaning processes and ceramics manufacture. STPP is widely used in regular and compact laundry detergents and automatic dishwashing detergents (in powder, liquid, gel and/or tablet form), toilet cleaners, surface cleaners, and coffee urn cleaners. It also provides a number of chemical functions including: sequestration of “water hardness”, enabling surfactants to function effectively; pH buffering; dirt emulsification and prevention of deposition; hydrolysis of grease; and dissolving-dispersing dirt particles.
Although the FDA recognizes sodium tripolyphosphate as being safe, Wikipedia cites polyphosphates as being “moderately irritating to skin and mucous membrane because of their alkalinity.” Safe or not, why feed this chemical to young children if you don’t have to?
Yes, this product is cheap, but so is macaroni and cheese that you make yourself using whole wheat pasta and low-fat or nonfat cheese.
By Marc Librescu