Any nutritionist will tell you to read the box before purchasing frozen, canned or packaged foods. That’s because most contain ingredients that are bad for you, such as saturated fat and high levels of salt.
These are ingredients you want to avoid. They are major contributors to myriad health problems Canadians experience including heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Many Canadians who heed the advice of nutritionists complain that it’s difficult to understand what is actually in their foods.
So McCain Food Canada — the makers of popular brands of pizza and fries –want to make life simpler for Canadians. On Wednesday, the frozen food giant announced a line of frozen food products made from simple ingredients, ones you would find in your own kitchen.
According to its CEO, this is a first in Canada.
“Instead of asking ‘what’s for dinner?’ Canadians are starting to wonder ‘what’s in dinner?’,” says Fred Schaeffer, President and CEO of McCain Foods (Canada). “We’ve heard them and are changing the way we make our products to meet their needs. Now when someone turns over a McCain Pizza box they will see simple ingredients that they recognize from their kitchen.”
Recent research, conducted by TNS Canadian Facts, shows that over 80 per cent of Canadians try to avoid foods that have excessive ingredients that look more like chemical names than real food. In fact, close to 90 per cent of Canadians would be more likely to purchase frozen convenience foods if they were made with “real ingredients”. Eighty-six per cent of Canadians want food companies to be more transparent about the ingredients in their food products.
“It’s really quite simple. We’re taking simple ingredients, producing a great tasting product and delivering it to the consumer. That’s it,” adds Schaeffer. “When you read a McCain label the ingredients will be simple and easy to understand. And if we have to use an unfamiliar ingredient, we will explain what it is and why we use it.”
The first products to be launched under the It’s all good banner are McCain frozen pizza, pizza pockets and potato products. The recipes for more than 70 products have been changed to include:
- Shorter and more recognizable ingredients
- Simple ingredients
- Pizza with reduced sodium and pepperoni made with simple ingredients
- Baked Pizza Pockets featuring real cheese and flax seed in the crusts
- Superfries containing sea salt instead of regular salt
It is a good first step. However, many Canadians will still be wary of eating products containing refined flours and sugar, which are major contributors to obesity and other diseases. At least, with McCain products, the labels will be much easier to understand and will help Canadians know what they are eating.
For more information on healthy eating, and knowing what to eat, please visit the City of Ottawa’s pubic health website.