What on Earth are we Eating?

Last week I came across some interesting statistics, which were published in a magazine that, in case you were wondering, I do not actually read.

Published in The Grocer magazine, Britain’s 100 Biggest Brands report gives us the startling information that Coca-Cola became the first grocery brand to make more than £1 billion worth of sales in the UK. Yes, that’s right, over a billion. And people wonder where our so-called “obesity crisis” might have its roots. I’ve blogged about carbonated, sugar-loaded junk before here, aimed at the sports drink industry. But the remaining 9 brands in the top 10 for 2015 don’t make for particularly happy reading either.

Here’s the list. And with it, I’ll give you The Raw Food Scientist’s alternatives – what I would really love to see people eating and drinking instead.

1: Coca-Cola – £1.15 billion in sales. This figure astounds me. Why do people buy so much of this stuff? It doesn’t hydrate you. It rots your teeth and it makes you fat and miserable from the sugar content. It robs you of energy. It depletes your bone strength. I guess they must like the taste then. Either that or it’s cheap. But water is cheaper. Turn on the (filter) tap and it’s right there. Please do spare a thought though for the CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, who had his total salary for 2015 slashed by 42%. He only received $14.6 million, down from $25.2 million for 2014, as a result of “disappointing sales” (source: Fortune.com). How will he manage on that, poor chap? And how many more bottles of this stuff, realistically, do they actually want us to buy?

The Raw Food Scientist’s upgrade – coconut water. It tastes great. It’s good for you. It hydrates you and gives you electrolytes. There are a lot of brands, so how do you pick one? I’d go for the raw one every time. My favourite brand is Mighty Bee, and second favourite is Unoco. Not cheap, but totally worth it. Alternatively, if you don’t mind pasteurised, Vita Coco would be my choice.

2: Warburtons, with 2015 sales of £695.3 million. People obviously love their bread. And surely bread can’t be that bad, can it? Well… yes, actually. Particularly if it is made from processed, bleached, white flour that even cockroaches won’t eat… So let’s look at some upgrades. Firstly you could make your own bread, with ancient, sprouted grains such as spelt, which you then dry gently in a dehydrator (or in the sun, like the Essenes used to do, if you have the climate for it). Or you could embrace Paleo and eliminate grains altogether. Many have done, and feel great for it.

Another Raw Food Scientist upgrade – raw bread. Try this. It kept me going for hours when I was climbing Kilimanjaro.

3: Walkers, with 2015 sales of £599.3 million. Just because they get a famous retired footballer to advertise their products, it doesn’t mean they’re good for you! Walkers make crisps (potato chips, for my American readers). Now, there’s a product that really doesn’t need to exist at all!

The Raw Food Scientist’s upgrade – make your own crackers. There are some excellent recipe ideas for crackers in Good Raw Food Recipes, by Judy Barber. Try them out. Alternatively, look at Inspiral or Raw Health for their crackers. But both have too much added salt in my opinion, and they will leave you thirsty and dehydrated if you’re not careful.

4: Dairy Milk, with total sales of £528.5 million. Oh, seriously? You know my opinion on dairy products. If not, read Love Your Bones. So this company combines cow mammary secretions with vast amounts of sugar and heat-treated chocolate powder. That isn’t going to create health, but so many are addicted to chocolate that they just don’t care.

The Raw Food Scientist’s upgrade – raw chocolate bars that do NOT contain agave or other sweeteners (stevia is permitted). But they’re still chocolate, and feeding your addictions. Limit your intake. And with the price of raw chocolate bars, you’ll need to.

5: Bird’s Eye (total 2015 sales £490.2 million). Processed and frozen food. Fish fingers. Junk food aimed at kids. Well done Captain Bird’s Eye.

The Raw Food Scientist’s upgrade – how about a proper meal, prepared from scratch, with fresh vegetables at the heart? Heck, I don’t even mind if you cook it. It’s got to be better than this.

6: McVitie’s, with total sales of £464.5 million. McVitie’s “bake a better biscuit”, apparently. Maybe they do. But better than what, exactly? This biscuit company feeds you with sugar, deranged, heat treated fats that favour inflammatory processes and heart disease, and that’s somehow “better”. Just like with crisps, biscuits don’t really need to exist, do they?

The Raw Food Scientist’s upgrade – try Snackaroons, made by RawLicious. They’re high in sugar from the dates and raisins that are part of the recipe, but they’re still a far better option. They’re expensive too, but maybe that means you’ll eat fewer of them, which would be better for you. Or make your own – again, Judy Barber has the answers in Good Raw Food Recipes.

7: Nescafé, with sales of £432.7 million. Instant coffee, brought to you by one of the world’s most unethical companies. Although many people can’t seem to start the day without it, drop the coffee and you’ll feel hugely better as soon as the headache disappears. Coffee overworks your adrenal glands, raises your cortisol levels and messes up your bone health (see Love Your Bones for how).

The Raw Food Scientist’s upgrade – caffeine-free herb or fruit teas, or percolated dandelion coffee, which contains no caffeine. Go on – you know you want to!

8: Lucozade, with 2015 earnings of £426.7 million. See Coca-Cola above. See my separate blog Anyone for a Sports Drink? Enough said.

The Raw Food Scientist’s upgrade – see above.

9: Pepsi (£423.2 million). I bet they’re really annoyed that they don’t have the market share of Coca-Cola. They pay a “nutritionist” well over £100,000 per year to tell people that their products are not bad for you (source: LinkedIn). I could go on. I won’t.

The Raw Food Scientist’s upgrade – see above.

10: Andrex (£350.3 million). Aah, it’s all down to that cute Labrador puppy isn’t it? Personally, as loo roll goes, I prefer to buy unbleached, made from recycled paper. Less environmental impact. But that’s just me.

Which brands have the most market share in your country? I hope they’re not as depressing as in mine!




About Max Tuck

Hippocrates Health Educator. Long term living foods vegan. Athlete, lecturer, author of four books (with the 5th coming soon) and firm advocate of healthy living.
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