Complementary beverage service only gets you so far. I’ve just walked my suitcase about a mile through the terminals of the Atlanta airport en route to Florida. My gate may be the furthest possible from the food court and there’s no going back now; the shoulder strap on my bag has broken, I’ve lost my boarding pass and, as such, am now crunched for time. Luckily, something catches my eye from a newstand.
No, it isn’t more news on the Sandra Bullock scandal and yes, it looks better than a $15 wilted salad in a plastic box. It’s a big bag full of milk chocolate malted milk balls. I curse myself for not bringing my own food. But it’s too late. There’s chocolate, I’m hungry, done.
But get ready, the bag actually read, “Natural snacks that fuel active lifestyles and give you energy any time of the day!” The words “Eat right!” were also present. For a second, I thought the bag was advising me to buy something else.
The word “natural” led me to believe I wouldn’t be purchasing a bag full of rearrangements of corn syrup solids, etc. and I ate about half of it at the gate. Not only was it pretty darn good, but it made watching a mother allow her two small boys to skateboard through the terminal while she was glued to her cell phone a little more tolerable. Then, what’s this? I checked out the ingredients. If only I’d spent as much time looking at the back of the bag as I had the front.
The chocolate included such natural ingredients as “artificial flavor” and “partially hydrogenated oils.” Corn syrup was listed as an ingredient twice. I realize I don’t always take my own advice, but as I’ve mentioned before in this blog, “natural” doesn’t mean much on food packaging and I’ve just proven my own point.
If you feel like “artificial flavor” is a bit, I dunno, amorphous, I highly recommend reading the “Why the Fries Taste Good” chapter in Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation” to get a better idea of what it actually is.