The website is abysmal, full of Flash-animated chaos and tabs that bring up one-line slogans. The message is … twisted. For some reason, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, a U.S.-based subsidiary of European processed-food behemoth Unilever, has seen fit to subject Canada (Canada?) to an eat-local campaign.
Analyzing this bizarre development transcends my gifts as a social critic. To properly parse what’s going on here, you’d have to revive Marshall McLuhan, and genetically modify his brain with DNA from Orwell, Machiavelli, and maybe even propaganda king Goebbels.
But I can tell you this: our neighbors to the north don’t need lectures on local and regional food economies from a transnational maker of pre-fab sandwich spreads. For those who doubt–and as an antidote to an industrial mayo-maker’s madness–I point to the groundbreaking Toronto Food Policy Council.
A couple of years ago, Hellmann’s tried something similar down here in the United States. It was actually a little less bizarre–rather than slather itself in the phrase “local,” the mayo giant trumpeted its devotion to “real” food. The Ethicurean’s Bonnie Powell skewered that campaign, and it quickly shuffled into obscurity. Let’s hope this “eat local” business suffers a similar fate–but not before providing a few good laughs.
For grins, I’ll end by listing the ingredients to Hellmann’s “Light Mayonnaise Dressing”:
WATER, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SOYBEAN OIL, VINEGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, EGG WHITES, SALT, SUGAR, XANTHAN GUM, LEMON AND LIME PEEL FIBERS, COLORS ADDED, LACTIC ACID, (SODIUM BENZOATE, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA) USED TO PROTECT QUALITY, PHOSPHORIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVORS.