Guess the Food #6: Vegetables!!!

If you didn’t know, three exclamation points in a title is blogger-speak for sarcasm.

But if you just went by the label of this “Guess the Food” contender you might be tricked into thinking that it’s crammed full of vegetables.

The problem of course (and what really steams my buns) is not that the product labeling is lying. Because it technically isn’t lying. The problem is that the labeling yells, screams and shouts all the (maybe) benefits of the product and doesn’t address any of the problems. I guess that’s how you earn your bucks as a marketer, but seriously. My buns are steamed over here.

The Claim in Question is Above!

The last sort-of Guess the Food post I wrote was on all of the crazy claims that were on a certain can of soup. The particular brand isn’t even important because they all do the same nonsense.

I don’t want to talk too much about the claim in this case but it’s worth mentioning.

Full serving of vegetables! Well cream my grits! That sounds like a great deal right? You get one full serving of vegetables by somehow interacting with this product!

If you read the little crucifix next to the vegetable part it goes on to say:

“A 1/4 Cup serving of Product provides 1/2 Cup of vegetables. MyPyramid (my review) suggests 2.5 Cups of vegetables per day for a 2,000 calorie diet.”

Read that one more time. I’ll wait.

I had to call an old physics friend just to confirm that such a claim is even possible given the space-time continuum. How can you get 1/2 Cup of something into 1/4 Cup of something?

Of course, the answer is that they suck out all the moisture in these vegetables, puree them, reduce them down to some weird paste, pack that paste full of other stuff, and call it a day. There’s your vegetables!

Just so I don’t get sued here. That’s just my guess at how they cram 1/2 Cup of something into 1/4 Cup space. But, if we take a look at the nutritional facts and ingredients I bet we can get a better idea of how exactly they perform such a magic trick.

It’ll also help you Guess the Food!

Nutritional Information.

The first thing I noticed about this product is that if you eat a whole package/can/box of it, you won’t have to eat vegetables for over a day. Because it has that many servings of vegetables you see!

That’s horse-puckey of course, but believe it if you want.

Besides that there isn’t much to say about this right now other than that it appears to be a vessel for salt and sugar. 410 grams of sodium for 1/4 Cup is a pretty large amount of salt. If you ate the whole package (which would be insane but you would get all those yummy vegetables) then you’d easily surpass the daily amount of recommended salt.

So let’s dive into the ingredients and see what’s going on here.

Ingredients. In order and therefore also in order of largest amount.

Tomato Puree. Well, I guess this is where we are getting our veggies from! Never mind that tomatoes are technically a fruit but I’ll give them a pass.

High Fructose Corn Syrup.I’ve stated my opinion on this stuff before. I don’t love it but I also don’t have a huge problem with it unless it’s used like it’s used here: Hidden in a food that most people wouldn’t think has it.

As an aside, the corn industry is currently trying to get the term “corn sugar” approved for use so if you see that on labels soon, it’s the same thing.

Distilled Vinegar. Standard pantry-issued white vinegar.

Corn Syrup. See above although not the High Fructose variety. Still sweet as heck though.

Then we enter into the “less than 2%” ingredients. For those keeping track, that means that those four ingredients make up probably 90% of this food. It’s basically tomatoes and sugar.

Salt. Had to be in there. I’m surprised it’s not higher on the list.

Sugar. Good god man why?! Just to round out the sweetness trio?

Remember how I was wondering how they were cramming 1/2 Cup of vegetables into a 1/4 Cup serving? Here’s how. The next ingredients are:

Dehyrdated onions and Dehydrated red and green peppers. Turns out that if you suck all the moisture out of vegetables they get really tiny.

Chili pepper. I’m pretty sure they are referencing the spice here and not actual peppers. Funnily, the spice is of course just dehydrated peppers.

Tomato Fiber. I wasn’t able to find much on this but I’m guessing it’s what it sounds like: the fiber stuff in a tomato. My guess would be they add this to give the product some texture.

Spices. Anybody’s guess here.

Guar Gum. No this is not the gum chewed by the famous 1980’s shock rock band GWAR. Actually it’s just a thickening agent.

Xantham Gum. This stuff is kind of crazy but it changes the viscosity of a substance. It helps a product stabilize but also makes it easy to pour out.

Dehydrated Garlic. Garlic is already so small! But they just had to go and make it smaller.

Carob Bean Gum. Looks like another thickening agent. Never heard of it before though.

Natural Flavors. Could be anything.

So there ya go! I’m hoping this is one of the harder guess the foods. I really tried to stump you all on this one!

I’ll give you another hint though that shocked me. 16 ounces of this product (that’s the purchase size) costs almost $3!

It’s tomatoes and sugar basically. $3. I was thinking it would be like 50 cents.

So. Can you guess the food? Leave a comment!

40 comments on “Guess the Food #6: Vegetables!!!

    1. And the only reason I know is because I just saw the commercial last night and the "1 serving of veggies" thing really stumped me too.

  1. I'm going to guess some sort of taco or enchilada sauce. I was originally thinking V8 as well, but there are more veggies in that… like eight of them :)

  2. It sounds like a can of tomato paste, the kind you might use to add to homemade pasta sauce or something.

    I too, can't stand the claims these days of servings of vegetables in certain foods. Everything is doing it now…frozen foods, sugary, juices, etc. It makes me cringe because it is as if eating vegetables is the end goal, when really the end goal is to make sure people are getting vitamins and especially fiber. I can't stand seeing kids juices claiming how much vegetables and fruits they have, when they have zero fiber left in them. Thanks for pointing out the 'corn sugar' plan, too. Grr. Makes me mad!

    1. I'll try to post on this. I saw the salmon thing also on the news. In general I don't really trust genetically modified stuff but it's kind of more out of a gut feeling than actual facts. I'm far from a scientist but I just feel like there hasn't been enough research on this stuff yet.

  3. Manwich! And I don't understand why people buy it. Making sloppy joes from scratch is so simple and most people have all the ingredients in their pantry already.

  4. No, Jean, it wasn't Reagan; it was his budget director, David Stockman, who proposed naming ketchup as a vegetable under the school lunch program as a means to save money. There was so much ridicule, however, that the proposal was killed!

  5. I agree with the commenters that guess Manwich! I personally am disgusted by the stuff! Most of the ingredients are artificial…yuk! Make it at home and you control the salt , sugar and other ingredients (and use fresh onions, garlic and peppers). Thanks for the great post!

  6. Wait, I thought we were talking about SOUP??? Manwhatever is not SOUP, but neither is ChefBoyareIjunk!

  7. My first thought was Campbell's Tomato Soup. But that certainly wouldn't cost $3 unless it's maybe the organiz variety?

  8. Dude, I can't believe you put a Gwar link in your post. That's hilarious! I didn't go, but they actually played at Bonaroo this year.

  9. Geez Nick! You are ruining all the food we eat! :) I freaking love Manwich (sorry if that just grosses some of you out) and now I find out it's just crap! By the way, I've never spent more than $1.25 for a can of it – $3.00 is ridiculous! Fine, now I have to figure out how to make my own…sigh.

  10. I'm going to have to go with some sort of Tomato Sauce or Puree.

    I love all the people knocking on V8, but I think that it actually does have SOMETHING good for ya in there. Maybe not…

  11. A lot of people got it right. I'm shocked actually. I figured this would have people stumped at least until the afternoon.

    I'm still trying to figure out what's "Man"ly about salty, sugary tomato puree….

  12. It's definitely V8. I drink it by the gallon. I know it's got enough sodium into to kill an army of slugs but I really don't care. I love me some Spicy Hot V8!

  13. I thought it was pasta sauce. I haven't made sloppy joe from a can in about a decade. My husband prefers the canned stuff tho – yuck!

    I wanted to agree with this statement made by Chloe too: "I can’t stand seeing kids juices claiming how much vegetables and fruits they have, when they have zero fiber left in them."

    Yesterday we volunteered at my son's elem. school and I saw all of these kids with a slice of pizza (stuffed crust… for extra bowel-greasing goodness), chocolate milk and a juice box. I was like "Really?? 2 drinks?? Are these kids going to school in the Sahara?" Then my husband pointed out that since it's "Juicy Juice" that it counts as fruit!!!!! Wha?!?!? I think ketchup is closer to veg than juice is to fruit! AND my husband actually believes this is okay!!! Sweet lord!

    Later, I saw one lone girl with a veggies on her plate and I totally understood why kids were passing (well, aside from the fact that they get to drink juice instead of eating real food!). I LOVE veggies and I would rather have eaten my own hair than that! It looked like old, over-cooked, wrinkly peas and carrots tossed in a large puddle of vegetable oil. So nasty!

    1. Sorry guys… these old comments aren't showing yet on the new site. Should by the end of today though.

      It's Manwich from a can! :)

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