Sunday, September 20, 2009

Natural or Unnatural? KFC Honey Sauce and Buttery Spread

Ladies and Gents, it's time once again for that delicious game show, Natural or Unnatural? But before we get to today's product, a story.

I stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken on the way home on Friday since I was too tired and lazy to cook. I ordered a couple of 2-piece meals, and the window attendant asked whether I would like butter and honey.

"Sure," I replied. After all, I love butter and honey on biscuits; why would I say "no"?

Once home, I unpacked the plastic bag (which I will reuse, of course) and found the honey and butter packets. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the packets were labeled honey sauce and buttery spread!

What's that, you say? Unnatural? Because of the words sauce and spread? Well, that very well may be, but you can have spreads and sauces made from entirely natural--really natural--ingredients. (Reminder: When I write natural, I mean ingredients that are grown in nature as a plant or animal.)

But you are right that words such as sauce and spread may be indicators that what you are about to eat is either non-food or that it may contain ingredients that aren't grown in nature. Let's take a closer look at KFC's honey sauce to see what we find.

If we look closely at the printing on the back of each packet, we find that the honey sauce contains the following ingredients: high fructose corn syrup, sugar, corn syrup, honey, caramel color. Notice that honey is the fourth ingredient, after HFCS, sugar, and corn syrup. HFCS, of course, is unnatural; sugar is fine. Corn syrup--I'm not too sure about how it differs from HFCS, although I have read it is not as bad for you. Caramel color--why would you need caramel color for honey? Isn't it already that color?

To determine what ingredients honey contains, I took a look at one of the jars of honey I purchased at market. Here's the ingredients list: honey. I looked at another container of honey I purchased at a stand in Florida that contains tangerine essence and found these ingredients: honey, tangerine oil. No HFCS, no sugar, no corn syrup, and definitely no caramel color. Needless to say, I didn't eat the packaged sauce and instead used the honey in my cabinet.

On to the buttery spread. The word spread, of course, makes one suspicious right away. The fact that no ingredients are shown on the packet is disturbing, too. So I visited the KFC Web site and clicked on the Nutrition tab. I clicked on the KFC Ingredient Statement link, which pops up a PDF document with a list of ingredients for each of their menu items. Um, guess what isn't listed? You got it: the buttery spread (I didn't see honey sauce on there, either).

By the way, I recommend taking a look at this sheet. The only thing natural on the entire page is the sweet corn--the ingredient listed is corn. Other than that, you are looking at a whole lot of unnatural stuff and preservatives. For example, do you make biscuits at home? I bet you don't use most of these ingredients when you are making them: Enriched Flour Bleached (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Partially Hydrogenated Palm Kernel, Soybean and Cottonseed Oil, Buttermilk, Sugar, Baking Soda, Salt, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Nonfat Milk, Sodium Caseinate, DATEM, Whey Protein Concentrate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Whey, Wheat Protein Isolate, Natural Flavor. Liquid and Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Soybean Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavor, TBHO and Citric Acid Added to Protect Flavor, Beta Carotene (Color), Dimethylpolysidoxane, an Anti-foaming Agent Added.


Striking out on the ingredients list, I took a look at the KFC Nutrition Guide. No mention of buttery spread (or honey sauce) there, either. So, I called the KFC hotline provided on the Web site: 1-800-CALL-KFC. From about 7:35-7:40 p.m., I spoke with Madison, the very nice woman who answered my call. She attempted to call up butter spread on her ingredients list, but she didn't have that information, either (nor did she have the honey sauce information). She took my cell number, name, mailing address, and e-mail address and indicated that she would report this to someone in upper management and ask him or her to e-mail the information to me as soon as possible. When I receive that information, I will update this blog.

Until then, I'm not eating the buttery spread.

UPDATE 10:20 pm Sunday, Sep. 20, 2009

I received the following e-mail from KFC Customer Service:

Thank you for your request in regards to obtaining a KFC ingredient list on our menu items. It is always a pleasure to hear from one of our loyal KFC customers.

Per your request, please find a link that will allow you to view our ingredient list.

I tried to reply to their e-mail with a note, indicating that their buttery spread is not on the ingredients list, but the e-mail was returned for failed delivery.

Kudos to KFC for getting back to me so quickly; unfortunately, this still ranks as a Customer Service FAIL in my book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the ingredients document. I've only recently discovered "Honey Sauce" and "Buttery Spread", but the rest of the stuff makes those two seem innocuous. Everything in there has at least a dozen ingredients. Except, as you noticed, "corn" really is just corn.