Thursday, September 13, 2007

Federal government's pork board developed McDonald's McRib Sandwich?

The most surprising thing about the McDonald's McRib boneless pork sandwich is not its McFrankensteinian ingredient list.
McRib Patty: Boneless pork (Pork, water, salt, dextrose, citric acid, BHA, TBHQ).

McRib Bun: Flour (wheat flour bleached and enriched with thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron, folic acid, malted barley flour), water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, vegetable oil (partially hydrogenated soybean oil, cottonseed oil). Contains 2 percent or less of dextrose, fumaric acid, calcium sulphate, salt, acetic acid, soy flour, monocalcium phosphate, ammonium sulphate, cornstarch, fungal protease, natural culture, ammonium chloride, ascorbic acid, azodicarbomide, mono- and diglycerides, propionic acid, phosphoric acid, corn flour, calcium peroxide, calcium propionate, dicetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides.

McRib Sauce: Water, high fructose corn syrup, tomato paste, distilled vinegar, molasses, natural smoke flavor, modified food starch, salt, sugar, soybean oil, spices, onion*, mustard flour, garlic *, xanthan gum, caramel color, sodium benzoate (preservative), natural flavor (vegetable source), corn oil. *Dehydrated Pickle Slices, Cucumbers, water, vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, alum, natural flavorings (vegetable source), polysorbate 80, turmeric (color).
The most surprising thing about the McRib is not its manipulative on-line marketing to youth.

The most surprising thing about the McRib is not even its outrageous satire site featuring the "Boneless Pig Farmers Association of America" and their teary-eyed petition to save their farming way of life (though I was a little surprised that the first featured video's veiled borderline racist insinuation about city living and rap music was approved by McDonald's).

No. The most surprising thing about the McRib is that the federal government's National Pork Board, whose every marketing message must be approved by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, proudly claims to be its creator. See the first page of the Pork Board's most recent annual report for 2006.

What a pinnacle of hypocrisy for USDA to support this marketing at the same time that other federal government agencies struggle to address the obesity epidemic in the United States, including particularly wrestling with issues such as online food marketing to children and youth and the rise of high-fat fast food meals at the expense of home cooking.

9 comments:

Arthur Barbato said...

Mcrib dot com is aimed at 18-54 demographic.

No children targeted here...just young adults...

sans Ronald McDonald..

OMD is mcd's main media planinng agency and they are spot on with their targeting (imho). I give this campaign a four star rating.

no deception and zero kids targeted...adarthurity

Parke Wilde said...

Adarthurity, the post's point is to ask whether the federal government should endorse marketing the McRib. I'm almost indifferent to whether McDonald's does so on its own. But even though its a digression, I want to pursue your comment. Who says the demographic is 18-54? It looks far more juvenile. Is there a source for advertisers' claims about which demographic they intended to target?

Trevor said...

That's just scary. .
On a lighter note all I can think of is a simpsons episode where home follows the krusty rib burger across the country.

bazu said...

I am speechless. How horrid.

Mark said...

This was developed 20 years ago, so in all fairness obesity was not the issue it was today.

And the list of ingredients -- for the pork -- is remarkably short.

It's interesting how many ingredients there are in the bread and sauce though. On the other hand, I think this is the result of the piling on of ingredients from suppliers. I took a baking class the other week put on by the company that operates my neighborhood bakery, and they showed us some of the commercial ingredients they use, such as raisins that are pre-coated with gelled rum, which solves various issues in baking with rum. Each ingredient like this has a short list of ingredients that get added together in the ingredient list of the final product. You can have a situation where each supplier has used a different emulsifier, where if you made it all from scratch you'd have just one of them, but more of it.

Parke Wilde said...

True enough. BHA and TBHQ are only three or four letters each. Of course, "Butylated hydroxyanisole" and "tert-Butylhydroquinone" would have made the ingredient list for the pork look a little longer.

Anonymous said...

It's is not a Federal Site. There are TONS of "Boards" for various industries. What a useless blog.

Parke Wilde said...

It certainly is a federal government program. Because the federal government enforces the collection of the mandatory assessment on producers, the checkoff programs are entirely different from traditional private sector trade associations.

Parke Wilde said...

It certainly is a federal government program. Because the federal government enforces the collection of the mandatory assessment on producers, the checkoff programs are entirely different from traditional private sector trade associations.