Advertising real food and real products

The weekends mean that I get some face time with the Food Network.  I usually watch it early Saturday mornings and then Sunday mornings after my long run.  I have to say that within the last several months I’ve actually been kind of appalled and turned off by what I’m seeing.

The commercials are either touting some sort of diet pill or system.  Things which are not healthy nor are they good for anyone.  Those commercials are alternated with either things we don’t need (a dryer sheet you stick in your dryer and leave for a month! Handy!) to fake and processed foods (Why hello American cheese slices. Nice to see you costumed up trying to pretend you’re real cheese. How’s that working out for you?).

For a network that is supposed to get people inspired to want to cook and to try new foods, the fact that they aren’t promoting or supporting that in any of their commercials is a little disconcerting.

And then I had the thought:

What would happen if the Food Network only showed commercials for real foods and for actual products that are green and will help you maintain a healthy home?  What would the result of such a thing be?

Because let’s be honest, a lot of people watch Food Network.  And a lot of people are going to mimic what they see and hear.  If Sunny Anderson is pimping Viva paper towels like they are the most awesome thing ever, you know people are going to buy them.  So they can make cones out of them for their french fries just like she does!

What would happen if Food Network started focusing on real food and real people who make or grow those foods?  Started local, maybe showing things from New York and California, then branching out.  Commercials for Big John’s Apple Orchard where you can pick your own minimally pesticided apples or have them put together a bushel for you for pickup.

Commercials for Aunt Sophie’s hand crafted goat cheese from free range hormone-free California goats.

Organic cleaning supplies, methods, and tips.  Organic beauty products.  Commercials from real chocolatiers so we don’t have to see that damn M&M trying to out run the conveyor belt anymore.

Instead of tips from Sunny Anderson pimping paper towels, tips on how using a vinegar solution will clean up your sink and keep your faucets sparkly.  How a baking soda solution can be used as a gentle scrub so that you don’t have to use that “all natural” bacteria laden scrubby sponge for cleaning up your stovetop.

Real stuff for real people.

In order to start change about food practices and habits in this country, it’s going to take a lot more than a documentary and books by Michael Pollan.

What if people started demanding for change more loudly? What if companies started supporting real food and real products?  What if those companies stopped showing advertisements for fake processed foods and started showing commercials for real food?

What would the outcome be?

8 thoughts on “Advertising real food and real products

  1. I think it’s a great idea, but Katie’s got a point. FN would rather sell to Kraft because they can make the huge media buys instead of a bazillion contracts with small businesses like Sid’s Llama-Fresh Farms for the Chicagoland area only.

  2. I have read that despite all the success of cooking shows and networks, people actually are cooking less at home than ever before. And, when the average person cooks, they are cooking with pre-processed foods. Unfortunately, Food Network and others are just advertising what the average readership purchases. :(

  3. Great post. I’ve been a FN fan for a very long time and I definitely notice changes in offerings. Or maybe it is just a change in me that makes me notice the offerings more. Not just in commericals but the shows. I used to like to quick cook shows and now I enjoy the Ina Garten and slow, homecook stuff.

    Sometimes I just watch tv to see the ads, not just on FN, but all tv. It is wild what companies try to make us believe are whole and pure. I hope one day we can get past the money barrier. The reason those ads are there is because they are from big time companies that pay big dollars. Just like why fruit and veggie campaigns can’t compete with soda comercials and why schools don’t want to take soda and snack machines out. All about money. Some of it desperately needed for programming, some of it just for the sake of greed.

    I think change through consumer demand is coming about, just very slowly. The real food/slow food movement is growing. So at least that is a positive.

  4. I’ve stopped watching most of the food network, a large part because of this too. I also, don’t care for the programming as much any more. The shows don’t focus on real people and real food. They also put too many contests on there now. It’s not so much about the food as it is the entertainment.

  5. Great post!! I too watch FN and find the ads going against the shows. I hate hate reality shows and all the contests. Teach me how to cook and fun places to go and eat.

  6. I wonder this myself all the time when I have the TV on. I hear/see so many commercials for quick fixes to intestinal problems as well — just take this little “pearl” and you get all the benefits of yogurt without the calories! That’s so scary, that we’re more freaked out of calories than of putting a pill inside our bodies to “fix” us.

  7. They have so many people to pay for all of those shows. Some like Bobby Flay, Rachel Ray and Paula Deen are probably pretty darn expensive. Plus some of the smaller companies only do products locally and it would cause their business to expand faster than they could afford if the advertising were global.

    Of course, you can go to planet green and watch Emeril cook from Whole Foods.

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