I always go thru the coupon section of Sunday paper looking for useful coupons, and I do find some (tho less and less as I switch from mainstream to more environmental products...but some soy foods and orange cleaners do run coupons...), but it's also my window on the horrors of modern food technology! Every week I see some new misguided or otherwise silly product:
"Now the great flavor of Life Savers in a refrigerated gel snack!"
"It's Pasta Anytime!" pasta in a plastic tub + sauce in a plastic packet that you microwave (like it's so hard to cook pasta and heat up sauce from a jar!)
"Suddenly Salad" (that one's been around for 15 years or so, but it still cracks me up, just the name...similar to the cookbook I once had to sell for Girl Scouts called "Goodness! It's Ground Beef!"
little bags of chips inside a bigger bag
Lunchables--esp. the BREAKFAST ones that include gummy bears!
frozen scrambled eggs in a tube
instant oatmeal in a Styrofoam bowl (like instant oatmeal is so hard to make...like we even need instant oatmeal in the first place when there are quick oats, which are easily doctored into an infinite number of flavors)
pancake mix packaged in a jar that's half-empty so you can add water and shake it right in the jar (doesn't anyone own any DISHES anymore?!)
single-serving salad dressing intended for home use, as a dip (like you can't dip into dressing from the big bottle poured into a small dish...oh, right, you don't have dishes!)
disposable baby bibs, marketed for everyday use, not just picnics and such. Last week in the store I decided to look at the box just to see what ridiculous promo tactics they were using...but it turns out there's no room for glowing lists of the product's advantages on the back of the box because of all the safety warnings!
Apparently they present a significant choking risk. But it's all about convenience!
individually wrapped wet-wipes for every household use--kitchen cleaning, furniture polishing, toilet cleaning
: Who wants to reach inside the toilet w/wet-wipe when a nice long-handled brush could be used?!
pre-filled disposable cat litter boxes
American cheese--I think it says a lot about America.
When I was living in a dorm and had no fridge, I used to buy individually-wrapped American cheese slices because they would keep without refrigeration for 3 weeks, but then I started thinking about why that was....
"Go Snacks" big sturdy plastic canisters w/just a few chips inside
popcorn that was popped months ago and sprayed w/chemicals so it's still crunchy
cookies chock-full of artificial glop and preservatives, packed in those horrible plastic trays that keep each cookie in its own little pocket of chemical-laden air. The worst are the "just like fresh-baked" meaning they have chemicals added to soften them.
single-serving pudding cups--a few years ago, one brand was using pictures of kids eating the things at after-school activities, w/the slogan "Tastes like somebody loves you!" Yeah, kid, it TASTES LIKE somebody loves you, but they don't love you even enough to mix powder into milk and pour into dishes and chill overnight and snap on lids; they can't be bothered to expend ANY effort on making you a nice snack!! AARGH!!!
What gets me about all these single-serving foods is that IME they are not convenient at all! They are usually not the amount you want, esp. when they have multiple ingredients, like there's not enough sauce for the pasta. I guess for people who have no self-control or common sense, who will eat the whole pack no matter what size it is, smaller packs help limit their eating...but if you read the Nutrition Facts, often those "single-serving" packs contain >1 serving!
The other thing about pre-made foods is that they're usually not seasoned the way I'd like. With all those flavoring chemicals and flavor-enhancing chemicals and extra salts and sugars, they can't make it taste as good as something I'd whip up at home in not that much time! (I'll admit to a serious weakness for ramen noodles tho.)
My favorite disgusting-seeming packaged food ever: my aunt bought in an Asian store a jar of Gelatinous Mutant Coconut Strings. We laughed over the name for months, then opened them, and they were really good! Yummy coconut flavor without annoying chewy texture. I still wonder about the "mutant" part tho and would not buy them again without an explanation....