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Want to know what really opened up my eyes to how food companies exploit us? I spent years investigating the differences between European and American food products, and what I found disgusted me.
A college buddy of mine decided to go live in London for a few years. While she was there, I often had her go to Tesco and other European grocery stores to take pictures of the ingredient lists for me and send me boxes of products. I’d compare them with the same brand of American products side-by-side and saw completely different ingredient lists.
Companies like Kraft-Heinz, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, and Quaker sell safer, better products overseas while making inferior versions to sell to Americans. The evidence of this runs the gamut from fast food places to boxed cake mix to cereal to candy and even oatmeal— you can’t escape it. This is what set me down the path of advocating for change in the food system and I’ve never looked back.
Here are 6 American products that are completely different overseas…
1. McDonald’s French Fries
Let’s start with McDonald’s French Fries. They make their iconic french fries in the U.K. with a few simple ingredients: potatoes, oil, dextrose, salt—but in the U.S they’re made with “natural beef flavor” and sodium acid pyrophosphate, and are fried in oil laced with the anti-foaming agent dimethylpolysiloxane – the main ingredient in silly putty (1). They’ve somehow figured out how to cook their fries without all these extra ingredients overseas, so why not here?
2. Quaker Instant Oatmeal Packets
Did you know Quaker Oats Strawberries & Cream has ZERO strawberries? In the U.S. Quaker mimics the look and taste of real strawberries by using “Flavored and Colored Fruit Pieces” comprised of dehydrated apples, artificial strawberry flavor, citric acid, and the artificial dye Red 40. It’s a total scam!
Meanwhile in the U.K. Quaker doesn’t even attempt to sell that garbage and doesn’t make any products like this. The closest counterpart they have is a product called “Oat So Simple” that has REAL strawberries in it—light years ahead of the popular U.S. version made with artificial dyes and artificial flavors.