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Artisan foods

Corporate marketers now stamping 'artisan' on factory food products to make them appear healthy, unique

Friday, October 28, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: artisan foods, marketing, health news

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(NaturalNews) There is never a shortage of deception in the factory food industry, which jumps on seemingly every marketing bandwagon in order to retain customers and convince them that junk food is healthy and nutritious. The latest marketing absurdity is the food industry's growing use of the word "artisan" on food branding, which deceptively evokes images of hand-made uniqueness in association with products that are really just mass-produced in a factory.

USA Today reports that major food brands like Frito-Lay, Domino's Pizza, Starbucks, and even Fannie May candies have all adopted "artisan" brand lines that suggest a healthier, hand-crafted product that is more special than other products. But in truth, these products are not much, if at all, different from other product lines, other than that they are usually smaller in size and sold at a premium price.

"The word artisan suggests that the product is less likely to be mass-produced," says Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director at Datamonitor, a research company that recently conducted an investigation into the "artisan" phenomenon. "It also suggests the product may be less processed and perhaps better tasting and maybe even be better for you."

Datamonitor found that, within the past five years, a whopping 800 new food products have emerged on the market bearing "artisan" labels, and that the rate of new "artisan" products being released every year is increasing. In 2007, less than 80 new food items branded as "artisan" were unveiled, while nearly 200 were unveiled in 2010.

The true definition of artisan is food that has actually been hand-crafted by a skilled food craftsman. This includes foods like small-scale, farm-produced cheese, for example, or slowly- and carefully-produced meals made by a chef or cook. Artisan food is not mass produced, in other words, which means it has no place on anything created by a food conglomerate like Frito-Lay.

Artisan appears to be evolving into the new "natural," which is another overused marketing term that no longer has any definitive meaning. Just like these phony "artisan" products, many "natural" food products are no different than conventional food products, except for the fact that they often have "greener" packaging and are sold at a premium price.

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