How well do you know your food?
I’ve been watching a TV series called “Eat Well For Less.” In each episode, the presenters, one a MasterChef UK judge, the other a greengrocer, spend a week with a family that overspends on groceries. Typically, the families are trying not only to save money but eat healthier.
One of the main thrusts of the series is to wean families off beloved brands and get them to try alternative and cheaper variants. What they do is swap most of the families’ food, and put it all into generic, non-labeled packaging, so the family doesn’t know if it’s premium or supermarket brand stuff.
The ensuing scenes, while predictable, are nevertheless entertaining, like the father who swears he’s drinking his regular beer only to find out he’s imbibing the far cheaper store brand. Every once in a while, a participant with a good palate does recognize the difference, but far less frequently than one might expect.
The hosts also suggest healthy, low cost, easy-to-make family meals, which really work.
At the conclusion the accumulated savings are presented. They are significant, although achieved only by shopping at several stores, which is not practical for many people. However, even if one does not follow each and every “swap,” the value lies in getting people to think about what and how they eat.
I’m left with one question: Would I be one of those chumps sure that I knew I was being tricked — when I wasn’t? Only one way to find out: cue the taste test!
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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