Local media is not doing the greatest job of marketing veggie burgers at this week’s Sacramento California State Fair. What local media are doing wrong at the California State fair in Sacramento is ‘broadcasting’ the notion that people come to the fair to have greasy food. Greasy, yes, but transfats, no.
At least that’s the opinion the media chose to print online, according to the July 13, 2010 KABC Sacramento, California news article, “State cracking down on trans fat at fair.” And that’s the opinion of one of the vendors interviewed by the local media.
Another point that the media is making is the reality that fewer veggie burgers are selling than hamburgers. The reason why is taste. People who need to buy veggie burgers don’t want the high salt content that comes with the usual textured vegetable protein used as a filler with veggie burgers.
When you make vegan burgers from scratch, you don’t need all that salt, which sometimes is used to preserve the shelf life of the veggie burger in some cases. Food has a natural salt of its own that has been feeding humans since before the last ice age. What the media is ‘selling’ about the fair, is that the fair is not for the calorie-conscious. What you will get, you hope, is a burger cooked without transfats.
The State Fair is in compliance with a new state law that began in January banning trans fats in most foods. But are all the foods trans-fat free at the fair? Unless you go to every concession and test each type of food, you’ll never find out. So who do you listen to? The answer is the inspectors.
To make sure the fair’s 150 or so food vendors comply, inspectors will be out every day checking on the oils in use. Finally, you have someone testing the oils used by vendors. The inspectors give warnings if they see vendors using products containing artificial transfats. How they do this is conveyed by the media to the public. The inspectors check oil deliveries too with most labels indicating zero trans fats.
There’s a problem with that also. The label has to read that what’s inside the container has less than .5 grams of artificial trans fat per serving. But those eating the food know full well that there are loopholes to get away with that. It’s complicated, but there are partially hydrogenated fats and fully hydrogenated fats. At least vendors are given the chance to change oils. Otherwise, the inspectors will shut down the vendors’ concession stands.
What people smell at the fair is the scent of corn dogs, fries, and other greasy foods. Some people go to a fair to eat food they don’t eat at home. Others used to fast-food eateries, may not notice any difference in the food.
Is it the fault of the media to spread the word that people, like a herd actually come to a State fair to eat deep-friend Twinkies? The herd instinct takes over the media.
The media wants to get down to the level of the consumer who comes to a fair to eat deep fried cake and couldn’t care the less what fat is in the junk food. The media passes along the notion that people come to a fair to eat deep fried sugary foods or grilled alligator.
Can you figure out why the demand is so high for deep-fried Twinkies or alligator on a stick and not for veggie burgers? It’s the media reiterating the herd instict. Get on the bandwagon and follow the crowd in crowd behavior. Why do people eat comfort food for emotional reasons at the State Fair? And what’s on hand for acid reflux later on? It has to be a media thing. If the media touted a vegan row of vendors, then people would order the vegan raw food on a stick or on a plate. But nobody is touting the veggie burgers, at least not as part of media culture.
The next time the media reviews a veggie burger, tell the chefs to go lighter on the salt and heavier on the veggies. Vegan, fruit, and raw plant-based foods may have a better chance of selling at state fairs, if only the fairs had a vendors row of veggie delights and an exhibit on healthier foods.
There’s no need to continue the century-old habit of eating deep-fried foods at fairs, especially when a few blocks away is a vegetarian-friendly buffet restaurant, Fresh Choice, in the Arden Fair shopping center offering soups and salads that are not deep fried and fresh fruit desserts. It’s all in the hands of how media replicates culture by helping people form eating habits based on what they see or read in the news.