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Kraft downsizing snack portions

July 08, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

Horrible, horrible news for Hagerstown. Kraft Foods is cutting down on the size of its snack food portions, and lowering their percentages of fat.

Smaller portions? Less fat? Someone better check the roof of the Alexander House, because this news is to Hagerstown what the stock market crash was to Wall Street

In Hagerstown, portion size is sacrosanct, and I think I speak for all of us when I vehemently oppose less food in any form. We don't want to hear the guy at the McDonald's window say "You want to downsize that?"

If, as a restaurant owner, you need a cement truck to churn the mashed potatoes, you're on the right track. If the spaghetti and the meatballs need individual ZIP codes, profits will be yours. If a customer orders a salad and you put oil and vinegar in the lawn sprinkler and tell them to graze, you're getting the right idea.

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Size matters? You bet it does. The Internet spammers could take a lesson here. If they really wanted to make money on Hagerstown, the subject line would read "Hey guys! Add three inches to the size of your funnel cake!"

Don't make me recall my three favorite factoids about Hagerstown: Per capita, we buy more queen-sized panty hose than any other city. 2. Many, if not most, paramedics in Hagerstown have bad backs from carrying beefy heart-attack victims down from the third floor. 3. About a dozen years ago, a popular all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant literally got eaten out of business.

The working theory is that as a hard-working farming community, we always ate huge because we needed lots of energy. Unfortunately, we stopped the hard-working part, but never gave up the huge eating part. And as Einstein said, energy with no outlet equals mass.

Kraft, Kraft, Kraft, you are letting us down, big time. We don't want smaller single-serve packages of Oreo cookies. And what could possibly be unhealthy about a Day-Glo orange slice of American cheese rubbery enough to do macram with?

Kraft says it's concerned for the nation's health. "We're making these commitments first and foremost because we think that is the right thing to do," said a spokesman for Kraft, which is owned by the same company that owns Phillip Morris.

So what's next, 2-inch-long cigarettes? Smokes, 10 to a pack instead of 20?

I don't know how to break this to Kraft, but sooner or later, some fat dude in H-town is going to figure out that all he has to do is buy two single-serve snack packs instead of one. Or heck, a whole bag. "I'll just eat a couple, then save the rest for ... for ... GLUMPH! Chomp chomp chomp."

Oh, I should mention, it turns out there was one other eensy weensy consideration Kraft is taking into account:

"If it also discourages a plaintiff's attorney or unfair legislation, that's just fine with us," the spokesman said.

Ah yes, it has to come back to the lawyers, doesn't it? The class of individuals that believes one should be financially compensated for the pain and suffering incurred by lying on a couch all day long eating bonbons.

Heck, don't look at it as overeating, look at it as an early retirement plan: The Sloth IRA. Have your cake and then you sue. If I were mayor, I'd be looking to cash in with a class-action suit before some other community tries to take what is rightfully ours.

Hagerstown vs. Cheese Doodles could be just what this financially strapped city needs to balance its budget.

Here's something else to watch at the vending machine: When Kraft downsizes its product, see if it correspondingly downsizes its price.

We're watching you, Kraft. Don't make us jump over to ConAgra.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. You can reach him by phone at 301-733-5131, extension 2324, by fax at 301-714-0245 or by e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com

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