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Power food

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

No I'm not going to push going to Coles and buying these products, it's just that I was intrigued a bit - well horrified in a minor way really. However, I think this post is going to be very short as I really can't find much - no I can't find anything for outside the producers - online about this kind of thing. I should have added it to my recent oddments post (Before I forget).

It's a fairly striking ad - note the ethnic and gender diversity here, though guess which sex is front and centre? However I quibble - what got my attention was the fact that this is a new Home Brand product, which must mean that a lot of people are buying this sort of thing, so it's therefore time for a supermarket to have its own go at it. Also, although aimed at people who want to be fit and/or healthy - no supremely fit - these are microwavable readymade frozen meals, which therefore surely include a whole lot of things that aren't 'real food'. Indeed I checked the Coles online site, and below is an example of the small print from the Balanced range - Portuguese style chicken.

There is real meat in it and some real vegetables too, also herbs and spices but the rest is largely artificial. No sugar though which is good - but heaps of salt. One of these meals will set you back $8.00. Well $7.00 if you buy two - and presumably they want you to buy all of them all of the time. That's $8.00 for one person's dinner - not a whole family's. So the poor are not going to be eating this. Or if they are then they need educating because it would be much cheaper to make your own. Also to note is that it is 'at least 50% made from Australian ingredients'. The words 'at least' are theirs not mine. So if you care about these things 50% comes from overseas.

The bit of blurb in their ad states that they include "tailored macronutrients to help you perform at your full potential." Macronutrients being protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fibre. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. But it's the word 'tailored' that is the key thing there isn't it? - implying that it's specially designed for just you - just like the relationship between a professional athlete and their personal nutritionist. This is a product aimed at the gym junkies of this world - the people who want to be super fit and super athletic, though probably not super enough to be a 'real' athlete whether professional or amateur. The professionals would have a personal nutrititionist and the amateurs would probably have a team one or at least handouts on what to eat to achieve supremacy in your chosen sport. And different sports require different foods anyway.

Coles is not alone in this field, although it doesn't look like Woolworths have joined in. They sell Fitness Outcomes meals (92% Australian and currently on special at $6.00) and so apparently does Coles, although I can't find them on their website. Core Powerfoods is another one - also sold in Coles. There are several other outfits in this field though and most of them are in the home delivery segment of the market - like Hello Fresh, etc. including the ones who also sell in the supermarkets. And I have to say that since I wrote about this kind of service - the home delivery of meals - ages and ages ago - it's a market that seems to have boomed. Like all those power drinks. I must investigate a bit more next time I go to the supermarket.

All of them advertised themselves in much the same way. Below is an example from a UK company - not available here but it's a good example of the kind of blurb you get.

"Packed with protein, with no additives or preservatives, our prepared meals have been developed by qualified sports nutritionists in conjunction with leading food technologists to provide nutritionally balanced meals, bursting with flavour, delivered straight to your door." Performance Meals UK

There's always a qualified nutritionist involved - well if you were a qualified nutritionist you'd probably be grateful for a job anywhere. And honestly what they say is basically correct. On its website Coles has a page dedicated to their new product and it includes what is really a pretty useful article written in conjunction with Sports Dieticians Australia. It's called A guide to fuelling your fitness and most of it is good stuff if you are wanting a diet that will enhance your sporting prowess, maintain your weight or just keep you healthy. It's only when you get to the last bit that you get the Coles hard sell with this little waiver at the bottom:

"Please note: the information herein does not negate personal responsibility on the part of the reader for their own health and safety. Individual tailored advice is recommended to be sought from your medical practitioner or Accredited Sports Dietitian." Coles

So you can't sue them if you don't win in your sport, or if you have some kind of medical problem.

And here is my waiver. I am profoundly uninterested in playing any kind of sport. I am woefully bad at all of them and always have been. I walk to keep fit, and there is no skill in that. I don't know the detail of a balanced diet - my eyes sort of glaze over when you get into the detail, But I do have a fundamental idea of what is good and what is not and I try to stick to it, but not religiously. We all need treats every now and then. Even professional athletes I guess. Besides there's always a sweet kind of snack bar in all these fitness offerings.

I don't think anyone has actually reviewed all of these products. CHOICE has reviewed meal delivery services - Hello Fresh came out top at 87% approval - but not power meals.

But I'll stop here. Not a lot of interest to say really, other than it's really not that hard to make your own power meals. You don't need a personal nutritionist to devise a plan. There are a huge number of nutritionists on the net giving out the dos and don's. And actually you could do no worse than read the article on the Coles website. Interesting though that Coles sees it as a big enough market to research and develop a new product.

PerForm - good name - very clever and the ad is striking so it might do well.


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