Ugh, I accidentally bought lactose free 1/2 and 1/2… again.
I honestly wish that grocery stores would not keep this and other “I have a medical issue” products in the same sections as the normal products. There should be a separate aisle for all of the dairy free, gluten free, salt free, and other food products that are made for people with specific food limitations. Perhaps a “DIETARY RESTRICTIONS” aisle that the folks who need those things can hone in on, and that I can avoid completely on all of my shopping journeys forever. Please.
I bought some cheese popcorn the other day, and didn’t notice until I started eating it, that A) It tasted bad, and B) The word “flavored” was written in teeny-tiny letters, in nearly the same color as the background, under the word “Cheese,” and yes, this shit-tastically awful product was indeed dairy free. Assholes.
I would think that the people who are looking for those products would like some more differentiation as well, and that it’s just as confusing or frustrating for them as it can be for me. Mixing special diet products together based on brand, or grocery store aisle category, rather than creating a special section for all of those special products might make sense from a grocery store point of view, but I think shoppers would prefer to have it separated.
Go ahead. Call me a dumb-ass. I sure did this morning.
Yes, I see now, that the packaging above is clearly marked three times that it is lactose free, but it’s weird to me that the packaging itself on these products isn’t markedly different. I accidentally bought the lactose free 1/2/ and 1/2 pictured above because, although the words lactose free are featured three times on the front, the rest of the packaging looks nearly identical to the packaging of the product that I have been programmed to buy on sight for years by the excellent branding and marketing department and graphic designers who work for this company! I go to the grocery store, bee-line to the dairy section, I see the familiar product, I grab. I go, I use. I enjoy.
OR I don’t enjoy. I notice an odd taste or texture, so I take closer look at the packaging, and AH HA! I discover that while it’s a product that looks like my usual purchase, it has some tasteful dark blue banners that gently seek to make the careful shopper aware that no, this is not your beloved favorite, that you can recognize in an instant, it’s an impostor! One that is free of something crucial that I don’t need or want to be free of.
I didn’t know it until they took it away, but I guess I really like lactose.
I truly wish that marketing departments and graphic designers would make these products easier for those who need them to find and identify, which would also make them easier for those who don’t need or want them to avoid. I need BIG WARNINGS and BOLD GRAPHICS to let me know that shit’s missing. Or, how about this… entirely different colors?!? The blue, green and purple motif above is waaaaaay too samesies to the regular packaging. How do I know it’s too samesies? Because I accidentally bought it based on the fact that it looks like, and was stocked in the same section as, the product I always buy.
Annoying, but I’ll live. Please don’t tell me this is a “first world problem.” I am aware that this is a very minor issue in the big picture of what’s wrong with the world.
I am legit too stupid to cure cancer.
PS – This cream tasted so sweet that I checked to see if it was sweetened (that’s when I discovered that it’s lactose free). Why would lactose free 1/2 and 1/2 taste really sweet? There’s nothing sweet added to it as far as I can tell.
— end —
Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.