And the Award for Worst New Food Product of the Year Goes to…

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It’s conventional to wait until the end of the year to decide which new food product deserves the award for worst of the year. But once in a while, a product comes along that's such an obvious choice there’s no need to hold off giving the award until all the entries are in.

Next week, KFC is introducing just such a product: their new Double Down sandwich.

It’s not entirely clear how this product actually qualifies as a “sandwich,” since there’s no bread involved. It’s two pieces of bacon and two pieces of cheese served between two pieces of fried chicken. There’s nothing even remotely resembling a vegetable—not even ketchup.

Given all the public concern lately about eating balanced meals and reducing the health risks associated with a high-fat, low fiber diet, you have to wonder: What was KFC thinking? And the answer to that question might just be more disturbing than the Double Down itself.

According to this article, KFC has designed this product (and the advertising campaign that goes with it) to appeal to one of our worst human foibles: our tendency to sabotage our own best interests by doing something that’s clearly not good for us, just out of spite. We’re all familiar with this situation. You know what you should eat for good health and weight management (and if you don’t, there’s no shortage of people who will be happy to tell you). But sometimes you just get tired of all the “shoulds” and decide to eat something guaranteed to make the food police very unhappy with you.

There’s nothing abnormal about this—most of us like to thumb our noses at authority and convention at least once in a while, and no one really likes being told they shouldn’t eat certain things they want, especially when those things are particularly tasty and you see them everywhere. This is one of the main reasons why many diet and nutrition experts recommend against having extremely strict diet rules and “forbidden food” lists, and support an “everything in moderation” approach.

But it’s one thing to say there’s room on the menu for items that won’t make it onto anyone’s list of healthy foods. It’s something else altogether, I think, to deliberately design and market a nutritional nightmare just because it’s likely to evoke this nose-thumbing, anti-conventional wisdom attitude and appeal to people on that basis.

What do you think? Has KFC gone too far with this new menu item, or is this just business as usual, and nothing to be upset about?