09 June 2012

Please, please, please don't let marketing dumb you down!

I was horrified, although I don't know why, I shouldn't have been surprised, earlier this week to see an ad on TV for herbs. McCormicks brand, these herbs are in tiny little packs, just enough for one recipe. And they are supposed to make you an amazing cook.

The ad on the website says "Cook like a TV chef with pre-measured pots of herbs and spices."

According to the ad, just using the combination of herbs and spices in these packs turns you into a TV chef!


It is no wonder home cooking is an almost lost skill. What they do is dumb down intelligent people. They destroy self-confidence and intimate that we are too stupid to be able to successfully follow a recipe and measure the herbs and spices ourselves, resulting in a disastrous meal. These silly little pots do not make you cook like a TV chef!

Do not for one minute believe that you need to buy your herbs and spices in tiny little pre-measured pots - you don't. In fact that is the most expensive way to buy them.

You don’t even need to buy them in little glass jars; there are cheaper ways to buy your herbs and spices, even in the supermarket. You can buy them from Asian and Indian grocers, greengrocers and wholefood stores. Supermarkets sell a range in cellophane bags, Hoyts brand, that are much better value than those in glass jars. 

The little pre-measured packs cost $2.48 - a hefty addition to the cost of your recipe - and each pack contains between 7g and 12g of herbs and spices. That's the equivalent of between $20.70 and $35.40 per 100g packet or a hefty $207 and $354 a kilo!

Either way you look at it, it's very expensive way to season a recipe.

Or give bought herbs the flick completely and grow your own. Herbs are very easy to grow in the garden, in pots, even on a windowsill.

Do not for one minute believe that you cannot measure the ingredients for a recipe yourself. You can!

All you need is a set of measuring spoons, available at any discount store, homewares store or supermarket for just a couple of dollars, and you can measure the herbs and spices needed for recipes yourself. You don't need to spend an extra $2.48 to season your meals.

Don't allow the marketing geniuses to dumb you down. These little packs aren't convenient, they are nothing but expensive, designed to undermine your confidence in your ability to read, shop, measure accurately and follow directions. They cost a small fortune and the packaging just helps to fill your recycle bin.

It's not just herbs and spices that have been dumbed-down. What about cake mixes? Packaged salads? Marinated meat? These are all very simple things you can do yourself, that are pushed at us as being more convenient and easier.

It is this very dumbing-down of perfectly simple homemaking tasks, under the guise of convenience, that has made modern homemaking so expensive.

Please, please, please don't allow them to do it to you.

Say no to the expense, say no to the supposed convenience and say no to the dumbing down of Australian homemakers.


  1. Here, here Cath, I too was totally HORRIFIED when I first saw this ad. How dumb do these ad agencies think we are!!! Not to mention the excessive amount of packaging which will sit in the environment forever (assuming the containers are not PET).

    1. It saddens, frustrates and angers me beyond belief that such a simple thing as measuring herbs and spices has to be "made more convenient and easier".

      It's not difficult and possibly would be faster than trying to open the packaging on these things.

      I fear for the people of the future - they simply won't be able to think and do for themselves.

  2. Looks like we were on the same wavelength when we saw that ad.
    I would never buy it but it would be interesting to see just how much they are charging for it, might check it out in the supermarket next week...

  3. They are $2.48 per pack of 6 pots and vary in size from 7g to 12g - so not a lot for your $2.48. At the moment they are only available at Coles - lets hope it stays that way,at least shoppers at other supermarkets potentially won't be conned!

  4. I go to Campbells and buy huge bulk packs of all spices(approx 20cmx15cm) for around $8 a pack including the more expensive herbs like cracked pepper, garlic powder etc.

    Of course $7 chicken manure in the garden and a few seeds is cheaper again......

    I also buy 2kg chicken salt for around $14 which would cost me the equivalent of about 15 x $4 packets in woolies ($60)......

  5. dear kath, I am wanting to try the lemon impossible pie, but the fact that it says 250grams of margarine or butter puts me off, is this a mistake? it is rather a lot.

    1. Yes, 250g butter is right - you are making a lemon pie filling, very similar to a lemon meringue filling or lemon butter. And butter is much better than margarine if you have it.

  6. Same avocado in a tube - advertising boosts that it will last a couple of day into fridge - so will avocados!!

  7. Dumbing down is happening on a big scale. Recently in Coles a lady was giving away little samples which were slices of celery on a toothpick. The lady made eye contact with me so of course then I have to talk to her. I said "who hasn't tasted celery?" wondering what was the point? The post was they were now selling celery already sliced in tiny little bags. This way of buying celery made one head of celery worth about $45. I laughed. I said Im sorry you are stuck selling this dud but its ridiculous. She agreed with me! People apparently cant work out price per kilo and compare. Its very sad. We are getting fed a lot of lies and there are a lot of con jobs! It is making me mad too!

    1. Annabel this is one of the reasons I loathe Costco! I was at Docklands on opening day and was interviewed by a lovely American woman who was here for the opening. She was gobsmacked when she asked me if I thought four tiny madelaines for $6 was a great price and I laughed at her and told her no, for $6 I'd be able to make at least 2 dozen! Ditto the $19.99 for 12 large cupcakes. For $20 my cupcake recipe would make at least six dozen, with icing! But it's convenient she said - baloney I said! Convenient my eye - I'd have to travel an hour each way, plus battle the Costco crowds and it gets very crowded, just to overpay for something I could whip up at home in half an hour and for a tiny fraction of the price. Convenience costs, and it costs big time. But what is worse is that most of the time it isn't really convenient. I better get off my soap box, but I agree we are fed lie upon lie upon lie to the point where so many people simply can't think for themselves.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment...I just love hearing from you!

Just a couple of things:

Please don't use your comments to advertise your business or goods for sale, any such comments will be removed.