As part of Slate’s “Future of Food” series (which I first posted about here), Forbes contributor Nadia Arumugam reports on food manufacturers’ efforts to conduct taste tests with children and even babies. I’d never given much thought to how Lunchables came to be, but given that (as Arumugam notes) in 2011, “the brand’s dollar sales reached $569 million,” it makes perfect sense that Kraft would do everything it could to determine if it was a product worth launching, especially when plenty of food innovations—make that “food” innovations—fail. (Consider, for example, Heinz’s insanely colored “ketchup”, that had some initial success but eventually disappeared from the market.)
Head here for Arumugam’s Slate article, and check out her companion post at Forbes as well. They’re good food for thought, though I did find myself wishing she’d given us a full New Yorker-length piece that really took us deep inside the business of testing industrial foodstuffs on kids and babies.
The Conscientious Omnivore is away. This is an encore presentation of a post that originally appeared in slightly edited form on June 28, 2012.