HEALTHWASHING
Inspiration from Meghan

Join my community

Sign up to receive news, updates and special offers through our newsletter.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Pop Chips: Healthier Is Not The Same As Healthy

 

I think it was over the summer of 2011 that Pop Chips made a splash in the "health" world, bathing themselves head to toe as healthy, when truth be told, if you looked at the ingredients they are a prime examples of healthwashing. (eeew! share today's tweetable!)

Their marketing campaign was pretty freaking smart. So smart that they actually asked me to be a part of it, requesting my ambassadorship for the product. No dice, but there were MANY other nutritionists who sadly did take the bait.
This was the email we received:

good morning meghan!

hope you're having a great start to your week!
i've seen your appearances on television (eTalk, the Marilyn Denis Show, etc.) and i'm a huge fan of yours! i'm also the field marketing manager for popchips, and i'm reaching out to you because i'm currently in search of a local nutritionist to join our nutritionist panel. the company has just landed in canada, and we're in the process of beginning our marketing launch. so when the head office in the US asked my opinion on who we should contact to represent the toronto/canadian market, you immediately came to mind. we have support from nutritionists in every US market and each receive a monthly stipend and allotment of popchips in exchange for involvement in various press opportunities. if you're interested at all, i'd love to connect you with our pr department. more importantly, i'd love to get some popchips to you - especially if you've never tried them before! let me know and i'd be more than happy to send a basket of snacks over to you or your office. in the meantime, you can check us out at www.popchips.com.

I was skeptical as soon as I found out that Pop Chips and Vitamin Water have the same parents. What they did was approach a whole bunch of bloggers and nutritionists who are on

board that healthier is the same as healthy and the claims splashed across their promotional goods worked for them. There is really no reason why they shouldn't have. We like to believe what we're told and we all love getting free stuff.

If the products were really as healthy as they like to proclaim, I wanted to chat with them about it.

  • less than half the fat of fried chips.
  • 0g trans fat
  • 0g saturated fat (saturated fat is safest/most stable fat for high heat cooking)
  • all-natural (see ingredients below)
  • fewer calories (than what?)
  • no fake colours
  • no fake flavours (really? where's 'natural smoke flavour' plant?)
  • no preservatives (Citric acid is a preservative. Not the worst of them, but it is)
  • no cholesterol (unless fried in animal fat, all chips would be cholesterol free- cholesterol doesn't exist in plant foods)
  • non-gmo (I didn't see a specific indication that the canola/soy oil which, usually if not certified organic, is GMO)
  • no wiping your greasy chip hands (because their chips have rice flour to absorb the grease)

Original Flavour- Ingredients: potato ingredients (potato flakes, potato starch), sunflower, safflowerm and/or canola oil, rice flour, salt.

Barbeque Flavour Ingredients: potato ingredients (potato flakes, potato starch), sunflower, safflower and/or canola oil, seasoning (sugar, whey, salt, onion and garlic powder, torula yeast, brown sugar, tomato powder, yeast extract, spices, natural flavours, natural smoke flavour, citric acid, paprika extract, parika) rice flour.

Now, you may look at that list and think nothing of it. I look at that and wonder what on earth these chips are made of. Processed potato and pro-imflammatory, processed oils and salt. All those torula and yeast extracts are just other names for MSG - they have a super salty flavour so it allows food companies to claim a lower sodium value. And if I were to eat them, I would still loose my vision and my face would go numb for about an hour.

There is nothing wrong with popchips really. They're a snack food. Junk food if you will. Just like baked lays, and cheddar popcorn. But they're not healthy. Might I remind you that 'healthier' is not even close to being the same thing as healthy. A healthy snack is fruits and vegetables. Maybe some nuts. Perhaps a home-baked granola bar. When I think of a healthy snack- I think of something that actually offers health. Not something that just isn't as bad for me as something else. You know what I'm saying? (if you agree... spread the word!)

Friendly Correspondence with Pop Chips

September 29th: Love In The Kithen (LITK): We were wondering if it might be possible to schedule an interview, either on video or via telephone with a representative from Popchips.

September 30thPop Chips (PC): Sure, what exactly is this interview for? any info would be great so that i can put you in touch with the right person.

LITK: We are seeing popchips everywhere, promoted as the healthier chip etc. Would love to chat with someone about how they were originally created, how they are made, the nutritional profile, oils used, seasoning used in the various flavours etc.

October 4th: PC: I’ve just spoken with the pr department in the us, and they’d like a little more information on the story you’re working on. if you’re interested in providing me with some written questions, i can forward them along and we can take it from there.

LITK: We would like to work on an interview about healthy snack option for people on the go. Here's a sample of some questions we would like to ask:

  • How do the makers of Pop Chips define a healthy snack?
  • Pop Chips are never fried, and have half the fat of regular chips. Why do you think these are important factors to people when choosing what to eat/snack on?
  • How exactly are Pop Chips made? What is unique about this process?
  • Pop Chips are “all natural” and contain nothing “fake or phony”. What, in your opinion, constitutes a fake or phony ingredient? Why should people avoid these?
  • What is your top selling flavour? What makes it so popular?
  • What nutritional benefits do you think your customers get from Pop Chips?
  • Why do you choose to use canola oil in your chips? Is this a nutritionally superior oil?

October 11th: PC:  thank you again for sending these detailed questions over. our pr director would love to speak to someone directly. can you send me your contact information so that she can contact you?

LITK: Does the pr director want to contact us to set up the interview or is this for the actual interview itself? We can be reached at (our office number) and our office hours are 10 am - 6 pm.

PC: Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I am the new pr director and will be happy to work with you on answers to your below questions. I am working on the answers for you this week. Do you have a deadline?

October 13: PC: Attached please find the answers to Meghan’s questions. I was trying to set up an interview with one of the founders, but he is currently traveling and is not available. Please let me know if Meghan has any questions.

(Note, we were sent the answers. They were, for the most part pulled right off their FAQ page, which I would still like to follow up with someone there on. I have even more questions now, based on their answers.)

LITK:  Thanks for the information. We really appreciate this, however we would still love to interview someone at Popchips via phone or skype. Would it be possible to get the contact information of one of the founders. Perhaps I can try to arrange the interview?

October 14th: PC: Thank you so much for your interest, unfortunately we aren’t able to grant you an exclusive interview. If you have any additional questions though I will be happy to work to get your some answers.

Hey, Pop Chips- I would still love a chat. Call me!

Question Of The Day: How do you define a healthy snack?

p.s - Find healthwashing as icky as I do? Spread the word and help end healthwashing in our food, TweetToday's Tweetable! 

 

41 Responses to “Pop Chips: Healthier Is Not The Same As Healthy”

  1. Carlen said…
    By the way, it drives me crazy that companies are allowed to put "all natural" on their products when it is so far from natural. Customers who don't know better will fall for it. :(
  2. Good for you @MeghanTelpner, TY RT @lisaborden: Did u read this @popchipsTO @popchips? Why no answer? http://t.co/XLiKPBu0 #healthwashing
  3. Sheri said…
    LOVE this. Really great example of how to try to deal with companies who just want to promote an agenda, not actually have a conversation. Huge new fan of yours now.
  4. @popchips is a perfect example of #healthwashing http://t.co/tkQqu9g4 via @meghantelpner
  5. Friendly correspondence over evil #healthwashing. yep! http://t.co/nenjJa8l #health
  6. hey @popchipsTO, you are SO guilty of this! http://t.co/nenjJa8l #healthwashing
  7. @popchips is a perfect example of #healthwashing http://t.co/s8oDuv9C via @meghantelpner
  8. Kate said…
    Potatoes hardly count as a vegetable. And sunflower and/or safflower and/or canola oil are more volatile than cooking oils with higher saturated fat content & therefore NOT a healthy choice for high-heat cooking. Silly PopChips.
  9. Thinking of checking out PopChips? Read this first... http://t.co/TabWFJ9P
  10. Ew... http://t.co/nenjJa8l #healthwashing RT @popchips what's in @JillianMichaels fantasy snack draft? bbq & sweet potato! popchi.ps/wcr5SM

Before you post your comment, please note that I am unable to offer nutritional advice or recommendations via my blog.

Let us know what you think. Your email address will not be published.

Join my community

Sign up to receive news, updates and special offers through our newsletter.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
To The Top.