A few weeks ago, a friend of mine who was going out of town gave me an open carton of Kroger’s Simple Truth coconut milk that he didn't want to go to waste. I glanced at the ingredients and blurted out, “You want me to drink this? Do I look like Vladimir Putin’s food taster?" Then I stood there reading the ingredients aloud with such oratory gusto, I could have been vying for the Toastmasters crown.
"Coconut milk (filtered water, coconut cream, xanthan gum, carrageenan, guar gum), evaporated cane syrup, calcium carbonate, carrageenan, natural flavor, gellan gum, vitamin A palmitate, ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12).
Contains: Coconut!" I said with an ironic, final flourish.
He stood in stoic silence. "What did I ever do to you?" I said. "Was it the time I dragged you to that raw, vegan place? I thought you really dug the raw-sagna! Were you just faking it like that cashew cheese?" Suddenly he had to leave. Something about an ingrown hair he needed to take care of before his flight the next day.
So I stood in stoic silence, holding a carton of coconut-like liquid that had violated my sensibilities. The simple truth is most of those faux milks are full of faux food substances in which I can easily detect the foe. Take natural flavor—that lab-concocted additive that adds flavor to prolong a product's shelf life. It tastes too real to be true. Yep, it’s got too much real in it. Frankly, If I wanted more real, I’d just have seconds on the real real. Oddly enough, this Simple Truth line of foods from Kroger and Ralphs goes so far out on a truth limb to brand itself as the healthy messiah, its message, Free From 101, is to tout all that it's not. Here's a screen shot from the website:
By emulating this brilliant marketing strategy, I figure that I can cash in with my own line of products. I haven't figured out what I'll sell yet, but I'm sure I'll think of something. In the meantime, my marketing copy is ready. Investors: get out your checkbooks. Cha-ching!
*Coconutmilk ingredients listed are for the sweetened one. The one in my photo is no longer on the website.