Friday, October 26, 2007

open with caution: contents could cause heart attack

An open letter to New England Herbal Foods LLC, manufacturers (or importers?) of Spaa Thai Red Curry and other foods-in-a-box.

Spaa Thai red curry Spaa Thai red curry back of box
To whom it may concern:

I'm writing about your product "Spaa Thai red curry with bamboo shoots and rice," described on the back of the box as "Thai Red Curry with Jasmine Rice Meal." I've bought this item (and several others of your Thai meals in a box) on many occasions.

However, as I was heating up my dinner last night (above-mentioned meal in a box), I read through the nutrition facts on the side of the box a little more closely.
35% saturated fat
Here were some of my thoughts:
Total Fat: 17% (I'm thinking, OK, not too bad)
Saturated Fat: 35% (I'm thinking, yikes! that's a little high, this is over one third of the sat-fat a person should have in a day)
And then: Well, these numbers might be a little high, especially since there isn't THAT much food in this box, but I like how it tastes, so OK, whatever.

THEN, I noticed the number of servings per container: 3. THREE!!!!! There are THREE servings in this box. You have GOT to be kidding me! NO effing (expletive deleted in the email I sent) WAY! How could there be THREE servings in this box???

Well, maybe it's meant to be a side dish, that you share with your family...?
Probably not, since the box "Includes bowl and fork" (as it says right on the front of the box...ONE bowl, ONE fork. Plus, on the back of the box, it says "Thai Red Curry with Jasmine Rice Meal." MEAL. Singular. ONE meal. NOT three.

So, I did the math (not that hard 35% x 3 servings), and this little box has 105% of the daily recommended amount of saturated fat. ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE PERCENT!!! What, are you trying to kill your customers? I mean, first of all, you're misleading the public by saying that there is only 35% sat-fat. Because, let's face it, most people don't read the part where one little box has THREE servings. And let's face it, you've done your share of market research, as you state on the page explaining the Thai Red Curry: "ATTRACTIVE: Very attractive Packaging (Research-driven design). " ( So you know that people are going to just read the numbers and not notice the multiple-serving part. Very sneaky.

And also from your website, the article that you're so proud of from the Boston Globe ( states: "The two servings promised are really only enough for one, so don't feel obligated to share." Of course, they don't mention the part about how there's enough sat-fat that you shouldn't eat anything else all day except lettuce.

And then to top it off, on this page (, the title of the page actually says: "New England Health Food, L.L.C." HEALTH food? Maybe this is a typo, but an egregious one to be certain. Right now, I am NOT impressed by your company, or these extremely misleading tactics you use with your customers.

a very unhappy consumer/customer

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