How the industry cheats consumers

They have never
been on grazing land

Now you can pack the fun into your child’s lunch, without the guilt, I thought so. Last week I was on the shopping tour with my family. In a supermarket we stood in front of the shelter (big fridge-freezer) with various milk products. The question was: Do we take the cheaper home brand article or the much more expensive branded product? After 5 minutes discussion with my wife I took the expensive one and went home with a very good conscience. However I would never put my family’s health at risk!

The Advertisement

The company claims to sell only fresh products with natural ingredients. It assures to offer only products without genfood contamination.

But next week on Saturday I read a report about deceptive grocery packaging. For example milk products. On the packaging there is always a photo of a happy and healthy milk cow which is staying on grazing grounds. However those cows have never been on grazing grounds in their life. A team of investigators observed some farms belonging to companies like as Landliebe, Bären Marke or Weihenstephan.


The stables were overcrowded with cows. The poor animals didn’t seem to be happy or healthy. Moreover not far away from the entrance the researchers found empty animal food sacks. According the laboratory the concentrate predominantly contained genetically modified soybeans and other critical
substances. Bizarrely the dairies charged a high prize, to be exact 150% more than other dairies with no name products.

Idyllic world only on the packaging photo

So, this is only a photo that has the function to give the consumer a good feeling or conscience. The industry is pretending to sell high quality products and the best for our children. Aha!
Nowadays you shouldn’t believe the industry. Nevertheless, they are so good in deceiving that I sometimes ‘fall for it’. What a bother that I didn’t listen to my wife. Maybe the female consumers have a better instinct and therefore it’s more difficult to cheat them? Who knows?

Free-range eggs or Cage-free eggs?

Free-range eggs are eggs produced using birds that are permitted to roam freely within a farmyard, a shed or a chicken coop. This is different from factory-farmed birds that are typically enclosed in battery cages.

The same team investigated the chicken farms. Astonishingly they found out that the living condition of the free-range chicken wasn’t remarkably better than the chickens living in battery cages. According to the law, there can live up to nine chickens per square meter in free-ranges. In reality the chickens spend most of the time in henhouses (more than 40.000 chickens) but not in the free-range. Paradoxically the free-range eggs are 33% more expensive than the cage-free eggs. The consumer is paying more for the same quality. The free-range chickens aren’t actually healthier and ‘happier’. Moreover substances like antibiotics in the eggs are often verifiable. The higher is the health risk in particular for children and elderly people.

What can the consumer do against nutrition impostors?

This is a common phenomenon in industrialized countries like Germany. Without intensive livestock farming we couldn’t ensure our nation’s food supply. If we import most of the products from agricultural countries, than we will destabilize our economy. Not forgetting the base of existence of our farmers. Nevertheless I think that the consumer is not stupid, definitely not! But the consumer is uncertain and the industry is taking advantage of this uncertainty. Unfortunately the politicians or the authorities are making this uncertainty worse with their counterproductive and absurd regulations.

There are some tips we can use as consumers.

1. The expensive one isn’t always the better one.

2. Articles’ photos aren’t usually reflecting the truth.

3. Be critical and don’t trust the advertisement.

4. Consumers pay for the advertisement and not for the higher quality.

5. Home brands are as good as or better than branded articles.

6. If you’re uncertain than take a look at the ingredients list.

7. Additives like E-952 (in USA forbidden) or E-1200-1202, 1404, 1410, 1412 etc. are critical and can cause cancer or other serious diseases.

8. AND the most important thing is: Please, trust your wife’s instinct when you’re purchasing.

Bon appetit!


6 responses to “How the industry cheats consumers

  1. Nice choice of topic, Ferhat!
    You did a great job at choosing a topic that affects us all and presenting it in a very informative way but still adding a good dash of your personality and individual experiences to it. The result is a neat and revealing blog post!
    It is really shocking that famous brands charge that much higher products without offering higher quality in return! Due to my chronically low budget as a student I basically only buy homebrand products anyway, but after having read your post I’m even more sceptical when it comes to grocery brands!:)

  2. Hey Ferhat,
    I really like your post, it is imformative, personal and humorous 🙂 I wasn´t aware the grocery brands like Landliebe actually don´t provide higher quality goods. I always bought it and also the free-range eggs. I thought the lifes of the hicken were “better” and the eggs healthier. Well, maybe you could add another advice: Try to buy from local shops that provide local products, this is not only better for the consumer but also for the environment, as we reduce transportation ways.
    I guess your wife would be pleased when reading your post including the family shopping, over all she would like your last advice:
    8. AND the most important thing is: Please, trust your wife’s instinct when you’re purchasing.
    Nica post! 🙂

  3. Hey Ferhat,
    It is quite nice to read something about food here in this blog. And the milk problem my family used to have some time ago because we believed in good quality etcetera when we were buying products of Weihenstephan etc. but anyhow we changed to a cheaper home brand because we noticed that the taste is not really different. And my mother still believes that the free-range eggs are the better one.
    I think your blog is very nice to read with the colourful headlines and I suppose that the food issue could be a topic for you to keep researching on!

  4. Ferhat, I did not know that there was such a controversy surrounding food and groceries. I was interesting to find it out from you and I will definitely take your advice.

  5. Pingback: Retrospect #3 – What we’ve accomplished | BLOG OR DIE TRYIN'·

  6. Hi Ferhat,
    Thank´s for this great post! Your heading caught my eye right a way and I knew that I had to read your blog. I am really interested in that matter and recently saw a vew reportages about the deception of the industry on TV. It is a quite actual topic, which has been discussed over and over againg, but I think it is necessary to talk about it as long as something is going to change. Thus I am happy to see that you wrote about such a meaningful issue.
    Morover I really liked that your shared your personal experiences, when it comes to the cheating of the industry, with us. I got the impression that you are a quite thoughtful consumer, which is fantastic!
    I loved how you divided your text in different parts and highlighted the captions. Especially I liked that you included questions in the last two headings, at it make me think about the issue at first before I got your answer.
    And thank´s a lot for these great tips in the end – I will try my best to follow them!

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