Pass the whipped partially hydrogenated soybean and coconut oils, please


Kraft "guacamole" contains almost no avocado, preferring instead to use whipped partially hydrogenated soybean and coconut oils, corn syrup, whey, and food starch. (Avocado shows up in the "contains less than 2% of..." section.)

"We think customers understand that it isn't made from avocado," said Claire Regan, Kraft Foods' vice president of corporate affairs.

Way to go, there, Claire, setting high standards for your company. "We think customers understand that none of our food actually is what it purports to be." Maybe that explains Velveeta.

The linked article reminds us that guacamole is a popular dish on Super Bowl Sunday, so when you're out shopping for your party, make sure you get real guacamole and not avocado-flavored soybean and coconut oils.

Pre-emptive snarky comment: "Oh, right, just like the advertisements for Windows Vista, which said that The Wow Starts Now. I didn't feel any Wow."

Comments (43)
  1. Alien426 says:

    Since guacamole is virtually unheard of in Germany, I had to look it up on Wikipedia. Thankfully I found out that there are already lawsuits against Kraft.

    Suing companies has been done for so many wrong reasons, in this case it’s perfectly reasonable and I hope it is successful.

  2. James says:

    Don’t get me started. I’ve seen one with 0.7% avocado (the rest was peas and blue food colouring). Here in the UK you can’t even get fresh guacamole in "Mexican" restaurants.  I wonder how many people have decided that they don’t like guacamole having only ever tried some dubious green goo.

  3. Todd Greer says:

    Your preemptive snarky comment makes me extremely tempted to post the exact same snarky comment just to finish destroying your faith in the intelligence of humanity.

    I’ll try to resist that urge.

  4. Kip says:

    You have to watch out for the word "cheesy" in product descriptions.  I think companies aren’t legally allowed to use the word "cheese" in products no containing cheese, but "cheesy" is ok.

  5. David Lynch says:

    It’s all about the Trader Joe’s guacamole kits.  (A small plastic tub containing two avocados, a tomato, a shallot, a jalapeno, a clove of garlic, and a lime.)

  6. ERock says:

    @Todd Greer

    I did exactly that once. After yesterday’s post about how it’s basically killing Raymond’s soul I feel bad for doing so.

  7. Frank Schwab says:

    Wow.

    Reminds me of the time I took a close look at the popcorn "butter" dispenser at the local movie theatre – "Golden Flavoring" is what it promised.

    Not "Butter".  Not "Butter Flavoring".  Not even "Buttery Flavoring".  Frankly, I’m not sure I’d even like the taste of Gold on my popcorn.  Though, should I win the lottery, I might just have to try it.

    /frank

  8. Joe says:

    I actually agree w/ the lawsuit to hold companies accountable for calling slime "guacamole" . . .

  9. Reader in Texas says:

    [quote]It’s all about the Trader Joe’s guacamole kits.  (A small plastic tub containing two avocados, a tomato, a shallot, a jalapeno, a clove of garlic, and a lime.)[/quote]

    ITYM a [b]head[/b] of garlic.  Yummmm…  Cilantro is optional.

    Not sure whether this thing takes BBCode or HTML (the Help says BBCode, but it also says there are Reply and Quote buttons, but there aren’t), and there’s no Preview button, so if the quoting is messed up, don’t blame me.

  10. J says:

    In my area, a certain brand of lemonade used to advertise 3% juice.  Then it dropped to 2%.  Now it’s at 0%.  Zero!  It really needs to be called "sort of tastes like lemonade drink", but I doubt it’d sell as well with that name.

  11. Matthew says:

    You know that "golden flavoring"? It’s flavored to taste like a golden shower. That’s why they don’t say buttery.

    [/snark]

  12. poochner says:

    Velveeta does contain cheese, just less than 51%.  It’s labeled as "cheese food product," which is precisely what it is.  Calling something with 0% juice lemonade is an entirely different matter.

  13. Ulric says:

    Velveeta is made of People, I tell ya.. PEOPLE!!

    and 5% soylent green.

  14. richard says:

    As you know, marketing is not about product, it is about promoting expectations and experience.

    Customers don’t necessarily want guacamole, they want the experience of it.  

    It is rather like plum sauce being primarily made of pumpkin.

  15. keithmo says:

    Not to defend Kraft but the product is a guacamole flavored dip. Anytime you see the word "flavored" on a package label, be afraid.

  16. Peter says:

    Two words: coffee whitener.  Doesn’t claim it’s cream, or that it changes the flavor, or what it’s made of.  But add it to your coffee, and it will be whiter.

  17. Paul says:

    I’m curious: how did you find this article just recently?  Or did you?  I know (think) you have blog posts queued up; but that article was dated from Nov2006 – over a year ago.  Are you really that far ahead on your writing, that far behind on your news reading, or did some random chain of searches/sites bring you there (like how I arrived at your blog and now the article too)?  Anyway, appreciate the info; I’ll definitely be on my guard this Sunday.

  18. mikeb says:

    A couple of comments more or less related to the topic:

    1) due to the similarity of the lowercase ‘g’ and ‘q’ letters when they’re underlined in a hyperlink, I wasn’t sure if the Kraft product was called ‘guacamole’ or ‘quacamole’ (as in a trademark of the Kraft corporation, like ‘Velveeta’). Since it wasn’t a ‘q’, I’ll offer my idea to Kraft free of charge – call this gunk "Quacamole!" and indicate that it’s an  avocado-flavored dip. Market the hell out of it. Everyone’s happy Problem solved.

    2) Kraft apparently has some incredible food sciences engineering staff if they can make people happy eating something that looks like guacamole but is really whipped partially hydrogenated soybean and coconut oils, corn syrup, whey, and food starch.  My hat’s off to them.

    Now if they can only get the Crunch Enhancer perfected (it’s a non-nutritive cereal varnish. It’s semi-permeable. It’s not osmotic. What it does is it coats and seals the flake, prevents the milk from penetrating it).

    Gotta go – my Soylent Green is burning!

  19. Sharon Sharalike says:

    How about that lawyer from the California Avocado Commission who says "We have not looked at this issue, but we might follow it now that we are aware of it"

    So it contains essentially no avocados and this commission "might" follow the issue? Not exactly an RIAA-caliber organization, I’d say.

  20. Sharon Sharalike says:

    "call this gunk "Quacamole!" and indicate that it’s an  avocado-flavored dip."

    I’d think that would be a duck-flavored dip.

  21. Arlie says:

    Hey Paul, who cares?  Raymond can write about whatever he feels like — there is no rule that you can only write a blog entry about something that was written less than 10 minutes ago.

  22. andy brummer says:

    I truly believe that all coffee whitener and non-dairy creamer is made by Elmers.

  23. Nitpicker says:

    If 200Kbps is broadband, then 2% avocado is also guacamole.

  24. Wolf Logan says:

    Al Sicherman is a retired columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He writes a "food" column" — the scare quotes are because it’s basically a humour column involving food.

    He released a cookbook a while back called "Caramel Knowledge" (actually "Caramel Knowledge: Bostess Bupcakes Peanut-Butter Coffee, Herring in a Cloud, Wienie Zucchini, and More Food and Culinary Musings for the Twisted Mind"), compiling his "theme dinner" recipies from many columns (and dinner parties). One was the "Mock Dinner", inspired by Mock Turtle Soup and Mock Apple Pie. As an appetiser, he offered "Mockaguole", a mock-guacamole dip. It was made mostly of softened butter. It went over quite well.

  25. D says:

    It takes less than ten minutes to make real guacamole. As long as you can find some decent avocados at your grocer there’s no need to consume pre-made `guacamole’ (soylent or otherwise).

  26. mikeb says:

    > I’d think that would be a duck-flavored dip. <<

    Hey, I didn’t say it was a great idea, just free;  I guess that Kraft probably won’t be giving me a call.  But now that you mention it, a duck-flavored dip might be just the thing for Sunday’s Super Bowl party.

  27. Matt says:

    My guacamole recipe:  6 avocados, any decent store-bought salsa, lemon juice.  Mash up the avocados, add lots of salsa (to taste).  Sprinkle some lemon juice to keep it green longer, et voilà!

  28. Doug says:

    I love how the ingredient list says there is 0g trans fat, but the second ingredient is.. well.. trans fat.  Thanks to the concept of "per serving" and a couple of thresholds, they can get away with this.

  29. Having no idea what Velveeta is, I decided to get Opera to look it up in the encyclopedia. The reply from Answers.com was unusually direct (see link for screenshot):

    "Velveeta has one meaning: Your Belly is Fat"

  30. Tony Siu says:

    In New Zealand, a company called Watties (brought by Heinz) recently released a guacamole that is located in the freezer section of the supermarket. The idea of buying frozen guacamole and thaw them before dipping them just doesn’t sit right with me. I shall buy one and see what percentage of avocados it had!

  31. MS says:

    "It was made mostly of softened butter. It went over quite well."

    The reason it went over well is because of the first sentence there.  Does it taste good?  No?  Add butter until it tastes good.

    (You might want to avoid this cooking style if you’re trying to not become a hambeast.)

  32. Brody says:

    Maybe when my application programs request memory from the operating system they should insist on "real memory", not this "virtual memory crap".

    When the RAM is full, and I request memory for a large buffer, I don’t want something that "contains less than 2% RAM".

    Just giving you a hard time, Raymond. Don’t get your knickers in a twist.  ;-)

  33. Aaargh! says:

    A collegue of mine brought this carton of orange juice to work a while back, on the carton it said in HUGE letters "100% pure juice". Above it in really tiny letters it said: ‘tastes like’*

    *: comment-nitpickers corner: it didn’t actually say that, because in reality the text was in dutch.

  34. Mr Cranky says:

    Real guacamole goes bad faster than sushi.  There is nothing in your grocery store’s dip case that is remotely like actual guacamole.  

  35. will dieterich says:

    Freezing guacamole is not that big of a problem and guacamole actually freezes really well.

    You just avoid the tomatoes then pack in an air tight container with a layer of lemon or lime  juice. Easy to use zip lock bags.

  36. Yuhong Bao says:

    Maybe when my application programs request memory from the operating system they should insist on "real memory", not this "virtual memory crap".

    Pretty easy, just use VirtualLock.

  37. Peter says:

    Could be worse. The Subway near my work recently had a "chicken and avocado" sub. I tried one and discovered that the purported avocado was in fact just some green goo that was served with a scoop. Don’t know what percentage of it was avocado but it certainly gave the impression of being around 2%.

    Disclaimer: I ran no scientific tests to prove the percentage of avocado in said green goo. For all I know it may be 100% pure avocado that Subway serve mushed up because they think it’s more appealing to their customers that way.

  38. GrofLuigi says:

    Raymond, you’re just asking for trouble with that Pre-emptive snarky comment :)

    GL

  39. Andreas Magnusson says:

    Hehe, it’s funny what they write on different products these days. My wife has some sort of lotion or hairspray or something (I don’t know what that stuff is) and on the bottle it says: "Against animal testing". However, nowhere on the bottle does it say anything like "Not tested on animals". To me that sounds like the same sort of loophole as "(tastes like) 100% PURE JUICE".

  40. David Walker says:

    Reminds me: I hate that crappy, individually wrapped cheese-colored substance that I call "imitation pasteurized processed cheese food product substitute".

  41. Krenn says:

    I don’t think I’ve tried the Subway version of fake guacamole, but I have risked it at Taco Bell. Surprisingly, it was decent. Not as good as homemade, but quite good for fast food. And sure enough, avocado is the main ingredient, with no oils listed as filler.

    From the website:

    (Hass Avocado, Water, Tomato, Onion, Sugar, Salt, Cilantro, Erythorbic Acid And/Or Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid,

    Dehydrated Garlic, Sodium Alginate, Xanthan Gum, Jalapeno Chili Powder)

  42. Dave M. says:

    There is nothing like the real thing.  I live in the heart of the Avocado growing region and after coding all week I get to help a friend harvest his grove.  That way I get to have all of the avocadoes I want and that keeps my wife from buying Kraft.

    I usually mash up 4 to 6 avocadoes and mix in some salsa.  Leaving an avocado pit in the guacamole keeps it fresh longer.

    If you have a firm avocado and you want to ripen it quick putting it in a plastic bag with a ripe bananna at room temperature does the trick.

  43. Igor Levicki says:

    Which has:

    52% strawberry

    46% apple

    2% grape

    Oh wait… it says 100% and "fruit" in tiny letters printed in black over a giant red strawberry, it doesn’t say 100% strawberry… Doh!

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