Oscar Mayer’s Fuzzy Nutritional Math

Alan Belniakbusiness, Marketing3 Comments

I was preparing a shopping list a few weeks back for a recipe that involved turkey bacon.  I said to my wife, “This should be a bit healthier for us, since it calls for turkey bacon, as opposed to regular bacon.”  “Yeah,” she said, “but we typically eat the Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon – presumably a better cut than their regular bacon.  I’ll take a look at the store today.”

 

Imagine to my surprise the following:

Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon - nutritional stats

Oscar Mayer Center Cut Bacon

  • Serving size: 3 skillet cooked slices (15 grams)
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Calories: 70

 

Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon

  • Serving size: 1 slice (15 grams)
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Calories: 35

Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon - nutritional stats

Wait a second here.  I get that Oscar Mayer’s turkey bacon has less fat (by one metric) than their center cut bacon.  But that’s on an equivalent weight comparison.  For me to eat ‘healthier’ (when it comes to these two bacon choices), I’d need to eat fewer pieces of turkey bacon.  Well, of course, I’d need to eat less bacon overall to be healthier, but what I’m interested in here is the way that Oscar Mayer is misconstruing the way they compute a ‘serving’.

 

If I eat three skillet-cooked slices of Oscar Mayer Center cut bacon, I’d ingest 4.5 g of fat and 70 calories.  If I woke up the next day and tried to eat the same breakfast, all other things being equal, except change out the kind of bacon I ate, I’d still expect to be able to eat three slices of bacon.  Heck, I’m eating turkey bacon, so logically I think I’d be able to eat more (volume-wise) while still ingesting the same or fewer fat grams and caloric intake.  But no.  Instead, if I still ate three slices – a reasonable expectation – of Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon, I’d ingest 45 105 calories and 9 grams of fat.  Three times the caloric intake, twice the fat, for the same number of slices.

 

Apparently, by weight, the slices are larger (though I can’t entirely verify that; the Center Cut Bacon serving is listed as a ‘skillet cooked slice’, whereas the Turkey Bacon is listed merely as a ‘slice’).  I find it disconcerting and disingenuous that Oscar Mayer would expect someone eating Turkey Bacon to eat fewer slices of bacon, over that of a fattier cut of pork (the Center Cut).

 

If you’re still left thinking that this post is about my Sunday morning bacon, you’ve missed the point a bit.  It’s about Oscar Mayer tweaking serving size and volume across two very similar products as a way of obfuscating the real nutritional differences.  If anyone from Oscar Mayer is reading, I’d love to see a response in the comments (or send me one privately).  This sort of unequal comparison is shameful, confusing, and misleading to the end consumer.

 

Minor update: I goofed in my math in my haste.  Thanks, icycle, for pointing that out.  The correction has been noted above.

 


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