Every once in a while, a brainstorming bonanza somewhere in corporate America yields a product so instantly iconic that it deserves a place in our country’s history. Crystal Pepsi, Heinz EZ Squirt Ketchup (in shades like green, blue, and purple), and more recently, Swedish Fish Oreos, all come to mind.
But those gimmicky products pale in comparison to the newest contender for historic resonance, a product so bizarre it could have been born in the writing room of SNL, or even The Amanda Show: salad frosting.
This kid-oriented, squeezable spectacle is another invention from Kraft, and their preferred styling is salad "frosting" (quotes around "frosting"), based on the expectation that parents will lie to their kids about what exactly salad “frosting” is, and because children can be pretty gullible.
Or, in the words of Sergio Eleuterio, Kraft’s head of marketing, “Innocent lies parents tell their kids help alleviate the pressures of everyday parenting, and if it gets kids to eat their greens, so be it.”
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: The frosting is actually Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing in a tube.
According to a press release from Kraft, it’s all in the name of getting kids to eat more vegetables. “In fact, 63 percent of US parents admit to telling instrumental lies to get their kids to clean up their plates,” the release states, citing a 2012 study from the International Journal of Psychology. “Sometimes an innocent, smart lie is just the only way, especially as 75 percent of American kids eat salad only once a week,” the release continues, citing a trend report from the NPD Group.
Okay, I get it, sometimes it’s hard to get kids to eat their vegetables; it may even be a statistically significant reality. According to a study in the June 2017 issue of Pediatrics, which collected data on a single day, about 26 percent of 1-year-olds had eaten French fries the day before, while 7.5 percent had eaten dark green vegetables and about 17 percent deep yellow vegetables the day before. Furthermore, between 2005 and 2012, the consumption of dark green vegetables fell by more than 50 percent. According to a 2018 report from the CDC, “most US children do not meet national recommendations for fruit and vegetable servings.”
So what’s a parent to do (other than lie about salad dressing)? If you’re into a research-based approach, the CDC recommends increasing early access to fruits and vegetables, especially in schools, where children spend most of their days, and “hands-on learning experiences, [such as] farm visits, school gardens, and healthy cooking lessons.”
Somehow, pretending that ranch dressing is actually frosting strikes me as moving in the opposite direction from “hands-on learning experiences” and “healthy cooking lessons.” But I’m not a parent, so what do I know?
As you might imagine, news of Kraft’s latest innovation garnered some ... mixed reactions on Twitter, my favorite of which are below: