This week's Gluttony--the Curmudgeon's award to a purveyor of obesity--goes to snack food giant Frito-Lay.
Recently, a commenter on another blog accused the Curmudgeon of being a "food nazi." Let's be precise: the Curmudgeon is a portion nazi, not a food nazi. We like all kinds of "junk food"--we enjoy ice cream (small bowl) just about nightly; we love Krispy Kreme doughnuts (limit--one); we eat pizza, fries, chips. We just don't overdo it.
And that brings us to Frito-Lay. The maker of Lays, Doritos, Tostitos, Ruffles, Cracker Jack, and so much more isn't getting a Gluttony because it makes snacks full of empty calories. Instead, the award goes to king of snacks for its "Big Grab"--the oversize bags of chips that have practically replaced the "regular" size at most convenience stores, gas stations and sandwich shops.
Just how much bigger is the Big Grab? About 50%. For example, a "small bag" of Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream flavored potato chips (they're pretty disgusting if you ask us) has 160 calories and 10 g of fat; the Big Grab version has 260 calories and 15 g of fat. That all adds up fast. Substitute the Big Grab for lunch each day of the work week and you've piled on an additional 400 calories per week without even breaking a sweat. What about some truth in advertising--call it the "Big Fat Slob" and see if anyone wants to buy it.
When the "Big Grab" was introduced a few years ago, it was clearly a larger version of Frito- Lay's single serving snacks. For a time, you could usually find it next to the regular single serving size, which of course made it pretty obvious that is was a much larger serving, i.e., a lot more fat, calories and carbs than the normal portion.
But over time those "regular" sizes have disappeared. Imagine that. It appears that the name "big grab" is disappearing too.
Just think: our kids will grow up thinking an enormous bag of potato chips (or other snack) is a normal single serving. And people will wonder why their kids are the size of hot air balloons!
So Frito-Lay: great snacks, but really, how 'bout keeping it real with the portion sizes!