A recent AlterNet story exposes the corporatization of the American breakfast. In other words, nutritional value be damned – what’s served up comes down to that which is sacred to big business: the bottom line. Corporate fare being passed off as breakfast include:
John Kellogg, Seventh Day Adventist, sanitarium superintendent and abstinence activist, created the processed cold cereal as part of a vegetarian regiment with an anaphrodisiac affect. Apparently he believed that anything spicy or sweet would “increase the passions” and that corn flakes put an effective choke hold on the libido. Eventually, sugar was added (under pressure from Kellogg’s brother & business partner) to make the product more marketable, ushering in a new breakfast business model. Food historian Andrew F. Smith describes it best, “These companies realized early on that people like sugar, and kids really like sugar — so they shifted their sales target from adults concerned about health to kids who love sugar. It’s a thoroughly American invention.”
Here’s another one – a beverage thought to be a nutritious start to the day. According to agriculture expert Alissa Hamilton, that simply ain’t so. Not quite that pure, fresh glass of sunshine it’s claimed to be, major OJ producers use flavor packs, engineered by the same firms that create perfumes for Dior and Calvin Kline (yowza!) to make their juice defy the age of it’s shelf life, creating an illusion of everlasting freshness in taste and smell.
Hamilton adds, “Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label… The formulas vary to give a brand’s trademark taste. If you’re discerning, you may have noticed Minute Maid has a candy like orange flavor. That’s largely due to the flavor pack Coca-Cola has chosen for it.”
Donuts, Bagels & Cream Cheese
In the 1970’s the rise of the cream cheese bagel meal was a combination of the success of Lender’s automated frozen-bagel factory and Kraft’s aggressive promotion of its Philadelphia cream cheese. The donut, a popular dessert since the early 19th century, did not become associated with breakfast until Dunkin Donuts realized what a killing they could make from it in the 1950’s.
The above items just begin to paint the picture. The notion of a corporate scam known as breakfast may sound like something from the Outer Limits, but it brings into question just what exactly is constituted as optimum “morning fuel” in this day and age. Regretfully, it’s likely that we’ve been subject to “subliminalities and false confidence conjured by strangers who tell us how to start our days, because they can.” But that doesn’t mean that we have to listen.