Capitalism Has Failed

Here’s how you know capitalism has failed: when they start creating products for which there is no demand, then spend tons of money on advertising and marketing campaigns in the hopes of creating a demand. I call it the New Coke Syndrome. Nobody had a problem with old Coke but nooooo, some MBA type decided they needed to switch things around because market share and synergy and value-added-thinking-outside-the-box and blahbeddy blah. Voila! You have a product nobody wants.

I’m not sure when this phenomenon started — probably when people decided getting an MBA was more worthwhile than being a doctor or teacher — but we’ve been stuck with it for a few decades now and frankly I’m pretty damn sick of it.

So here we have today’s latest entry in the “shit-I-don’t-want” sweepstakes: ladies and gentlemen (but really, let’s be honest here, the stupid shit is always marketed to ladies), I bring you the Land o’Lakes Sauté Express® Sauté Starter!

This product launched in October, but I saw my first ad for it this morning. Let’s read the product launch press release, shall we:

Land O’Lakes is helping moms solve the 4 p.m. daily dinner dilemma with Sauté ExpressTM Sauté Starter, a new, all-in-one, seasoned butter and olive oil sauté starter that cooks and flavors chicken, fish or pork in one easy step. Found in the dairy aisle, each of the six 1-ounce squares in a package of Sauté ExpressTM Sauté Starter combines the fresh flavors of butter, olive oil, herbs and spices. By simply tossing the pre-measured, butter-based square into a heated, non-stick sauté pan, moms can cook a wholesome, flavorful and sizzling meal in 30 minutes or less – no prep time required.

By the way, why do we need to use a non-stick pan if we’re putting butter in it? But I digress.From their website:

How do I use Sauté Express® Sauté Starter?

Simply melt one Sauté Express® square in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add any protein, such as chicken, fish or pork. Sauté until meat is thoroughly cooked.

Oh. So in other words, it’s butter. With some spice and other stuff mixed in. Stuff I probably already have in my spice rack next to the stove.

Umm … ‘scuse me, Mr. MBA CEO Guy, but was there something wrong with the stick of Land O’Lakes butter in my fridge?

You know, it’s not that hard to take a pat of butter, pull some dried Italian seasoning out of the spice rack and sprinkle it in there, maybe crush a clove of garlic and let it all melt. I mean, that takes all of, I dunno, two seconds perhaps? Add some olive oil to that and it takes all of 2.2 seconds. This is the daily dinner dilemma for moms? That I don’t have 2 seconds to melt some fucking butter and throw a pinch of oregano in there too?

Are you people fucking kidding me?

This shit makes me nuts. I realize it’s not up there with, say, not reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, but the failure of our capitalist overlords to fully understand us ordinary peons and instead look for new ways to give us diabetes and hypertension really cuts my salmon. This is not a better mousetrap. This is some other thing that they’re trying to con you into thinking is a mousetrap. It’s a mousetrap-like device. And by the way, do you need a mousetrap? Yes! But you have a cat? No, you really, really, really need a mousetrap! C’mon, you know you do! Ditch the cat, and BUY THE FUCKING MOUSETRAP!

Let’s be real here. This product only exists to justify some agribusiness major’s corporate gig. This would be the person who spends waaaay too much fucking time reading Advertising Age. From their press release:

“Cooking with Sauté ExpressTM Sauté Starter is a multisensory experience – from the bubbling and sizzling sights and sounds in the pan and the irresistible aroma of the herbs, spices and butter, to the light, savory flavor and texture of your finished meal,” said Becky Wahlund, test kitchen director at Land O’Lakes. “The entire family will be eager to sit down for dinner – and likely will ask for seconds – making Sauté Express™ Sauté Starter a win-win solution for moms.”

You know what else does that? Butter.

Also, apparently this product is just for moms. If you’re a dad, or a single person, this product is not for you. Continue melting butter and adding your own spices as you’ve always done. Or fuckit, pop a Lean Cuisine in the microwave, we don’t give a shit.

Let me add, if you take some butter and spices and maybe crush a piece of garlic or squirt a lemon wedge in there, you will have something that is infinitely better than this product, because I looked at the ingredients and the Sauté Express® Sauté Starter is loaded with sodium, saturated fat, corn starch and other crap that you don’t need or want. The Garlic & Herb flavor has over 25 ingredients, including yeast extract, salt, sugar, sesame oil, canola oil and citric acid. It also has 280 mg of sodium, 80 calories, and 7 g of fat. That’s per serving.

Even the simplest flavor, Savory Butter & Olive Oil, contains corn starch, sugar, soy lecithin, citric acid, and a whopping 270 mg of sodium and 7 grams of fat. Again, that’s per serving.

This is what I hate about Big Food. You guys, I’m not eating this crap. No one should eat this crap. It’s not even necessary to eat this crap! This product does not make anyone’s life easier, not the “busy mom” or anyone else’s. You people already sell butter. You want to help moms solve the 4 pm daily dinner dilemma? Try figuring out a way to get your damn butter into my fridge without it costing me $4 a pound. We can handle the rest, really we can.

24 thoughts on “Capitalism Has Failed

  1. NoPublic says:

    Well to be fair, it’s hard to get away from the fat when you’re using butter or olive oil in any quantity. 15g/tbsp with a usual saute load of 2tbsp means you’ve got 30g of fat in there to begin with. The rest of the crap (msg and flavouring agents in particular) you can do without.

  2. Jude says:

    Wait, wait, wait.
    “The entire family will be eager to sit down for dinner – and likely will ask for seconds – making Sauté Express™ Sauté Starter a win-win solution for moms.”
    “You’ll save time, but they’ll like this superbutter so much, they’ll ask for seconds, so GET YOUR BITCH ASS BACK IN THE KITCHEN AND COOK SOME MORE, SLATTERN.”
    I don’t even understand.
    This kind of shit makes me so stabby it’s dangerous to be around me. The sexism is completely rage-inducing on its own, but when you add in the stupidity? SMASH.

  3. Eykis says:

    Thank you. I was “gifted” with 4 boxes of this stuff about a month ago – when I opened up the first one and tossed it in the pan, I saw what you wrote – and thought, how much are they charging for a too-small pat of butter with not enough spices? So I tossed in another pat and stir-fried some chicken strips. I could have done the same thing by simply opening the spice cabinet and I always use butter anyway, so no problemo~

  4. “.. GET YOUR BITCH ASS BACK IN THE KITCHEN AND COOK SOME MORE, SLATTERN.”
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!

  5. Athenae says:

    I’ve MADE these, with herbs and olive oil, in ice cube trays. Thank you, Pinterest! It still took like six seconds to do.
    Plus WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK with the MOMS thing. Apparently women without children don’t cook. And all women with children do all the cooking, and are stupid about it.
    And we say our society values motherhood. Seriously. Who the fuck wants to have kids if you have to use this shit.
    A.

  6. Dugglebogey says:

    My hatred of MBAs runs deep. It started when I was eating in a restaurant and they had “honey sauce” instead of honey. A bunch of high fructose corn syrup garbage that wasn’t at all like honey.
    No chef would decide to use “honey sauce” instead of real honey. Never. Only an MBA would make that decision.

  7. Dugglebogey — or a politician selling us a crap ag policy. We grow so much corn thank to our crap food bill that they are literally dreaming up stuff to do with it. It’s sick.

  8. ARS says:

    “a multisensory experience!” Now that’s funny.

  9. Shana says:

    While I agree wholeheartedly with all the above comments, let me also say that there are a ton of people out there who have no idea how to cook. I have no idea how they’ve made it into adulthood without gaining this basic skill, but these are people who eat out at every meal. This product may convince some of those people to start cooking at home instead, and then move on to better alternatives than this crap.

  10. I dunno, Shana. If someone isn’t adept enough in the kitchen to melt better and saute a chicken breast, I don’t see how this product will help them. The skill set is the same: melt butter or Fabulous Spiced Butter Substitute Thingie without burning it, saute protein without burning or giving your family food poisoning, serve, eat.
    For people who can’t do that, and I agree there are people who don’t know how to cook, Goddess invented frozen dinners.

  11. gene108 says:

    “I call it the New Coke Syndrome. Nobody had a problem with old Coke ”
    I disagree.
    There were several blind taste tests done in the 1980’s and a sweeter flavor of Cola usually won out.
    Coca-Cola decided to reformulate to a flavor that did better in these taste tests and thus would be more appealing to a wider audience.
    It’s the irrational behavior of consumers, who decided that Coca-Cola shouldn’t taste like New Coke that screwed things up. Take the labeling off the package and New Coke would’ve kicked Classic Coke’s ass. We, as consumers, just irrationally reacted to the packaging.
    Probably the big mistake by the Coca-Cola Co. was to discontinue Classic Coke, assuming everyone would just adopt the new flavor. But there were reasons to launch a reformulated Coca-Cola product. There are still reasons to launch reformulated Coca-Cola products, which is why you have Coke Zero, as well as Diet Coke now.
    There’s always demand for something you don’t have or didn’t realize you never had. The question is whether a company can package a product to appeal to this unrealized demand.

  12. thebewilderness says:

    $3.79 for six ounces. No! Srsly! Three dollars and seventy nine is the SRP of six ounces of oil and butter with spices because everyone likes their food spiced the way L O’L taste testers like their food and soooo convenient it clearly saves you the trouble of thinking what you might like since they decided for you.
    It does get stupider than this, but not much and not often.

  13. MapleStreet says:

    Look on Amazon for “Banana Slicer” and you’ll items such as the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer http://www.amazon.com/Hutzler-5717-571-Banana-Slicer/dp/B0047E0EII/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360711423&sr=8-1&keywords=banana+slicer
    BTW – read the reviews and look at the customer supplied images for some really fine humor.
    Seriously though, looking at both our economy and a sustainable planet, how much do we spend on trinkets that are going to fall apart in 5 minutes? And what would it do if we channeled that money into a social good?

  14. MapleStreet says:

    I’d hope that the mytho of the businessman having magical powers had been thoroughly debunked. Unfortunately it hasn’t.
    Bill Maher had a nice rip where he looked at the idea of needing a businessman in charge of the govt. (Do you really want to argue that with me? George Bush was a Businessman. I won.) He also pointed out that the idea of business is to make money while you don’t want govt making money off the people it serves.
    Not to mention, as business does its best to push itself off onto the consumer (your Land-o-Lakes is a good example), you don’t want govt pushing itself off on you. Yet the teabag mantra wants to run govt like a business but similtaneously arms itself to the teeth in its fear that govt is going to push something on them. Seems kind of inconsistent.

  15. pansypoo says:

    fuck new coke. if you want crap, drink pepsi. i figured cause they switched to HFCS + i altered the flavor. classic coke still doesn’t taste the same. a twist if lime/lemon gets closer, but screw it. i will not drink coke again. i gave up fizzy. i drink grapefruitade in winter, lemonade in summer. natural + i can compost the packaging. i can add seltzer for fizzy.
    fuck non stick too. i love my cast iron. and butter.

  16. MapleStreet says:

    Oh, and they are having Ted Nugent as their guest of honor.
    Any more questions if their defense of the sacredness of marriage is some sort of sham / diversionary tactic?
    “Two relationships (one with his wife and one with “muse” Pele Massa, who was 17 when they started dating) were ended due to Ted’s infidelity while on the road, often with underage women. But Ted justifies his behavior with one of his trademark funny expressions: ‘alternative flesh management.'”
    http://www.politicususa.com/ted-nugent-state-of-the-union.html

  17. Jude says:

    It’s the irrational behavior of consumers, who decided that Coca-Cola shouldn’t taste like New Coke that screwed things up. Take the labeling off the package and New Coke would’ve kicked Classic Coke’s ass. We, as consumers, just irrationally reacted to the packaging.
    Probably the big mistake by the Coca-Cola Co. was to discontinue Classic Coke, assuming everyone would just adopt the new flavor. But there were reasons to launch a reformulated Coca-Cola product. There are still reasons to launch reformulated Coca-Cola products, which is why you have Coke Zero, as well as Diet Coke now.

    What kind of economics major/business school bullshit is this? It is IMPOSSIBLE for the consumers to “screw things up.” The consumers are expressing their demand preferences. When, say, you remove your flagship product–with great fanfare, mind you–and substitute something completely different, do not be surprised when demand craters. There was no need to completely replace Coca-Cola with something new. No one was demanding that. The fuck-up was on the part of the marketing people, NOT THE PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN CONSUMING COKE BY THE BARREL AND ENRICHING THE COCA-COLA COMPANY FOR GENERATIONS. Now, as for Coke Zero and Diet Coke, those products were created in response to consumer demand. Specifically, in response to consumer demand for low-calorie products. They were not a substitute for Coca-Cola; they were a supplemental product line.
    Jesus. This isn’t that hard.

  18. MapleStreet:
    Back in the ’70s my grandmother bought our family an Egg Scrambler for Christmas one year. This was a device which scrambled your egg INSIDE THE EGG! So you just cracked open the egg and *poof* your egg was pre-scrambled.
    This was all in theory as we never used the device, which I’m pretty sure was one of those Ronco late night TV thingies. But seriously, who needs a machine to scramble your egg? In the shell?

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  21. Eric says:

    My wife and I were sitting on the couch when we saw our 1st commercial for this “product” and not 2 seconds after it ended we looked at each other and said “bullshit” at the same time. Just a couple of minor points there Mr. MBA smarty-pants;
    A. My wife and I both work, I get home 1st, and it is NOT 4pm.
    B. Since I am home 1st I usually cook dinner for the family (I guess that makes me ME the Mom)
    C. We tend to be very careful about how much pre-processed crap we put into our adult and our 12 year old daughters body
    D. Anything I make is gonna be WAYYYYYYYYY tasty-er than your fat ladened salt infested crap
    and finally E. I have not believed anything coming out of a corporate advertisers mouth for the last 20 years so you just wasted a ton of money on a product that will go the way of the ear wax vacuum

  22. Beauzeaux says:

    That was my thought as well, Eric. What 4p.m. dilemma? Aren’t most people still at work then? So this is for stay-at-home parents who presumably could carve out 15 or 20 minutes to make dinner. (Anyone at home with 3 or more kids under five is excused. Your problems are bigger than Land o Lakes can solve.)
    A little advance thought and you can make wonderful meals in a very short time. After all, you have to be prepared enough to have a chicken breast or fish fillet on hand. And maybe a veggie? I don’t see the point of paying big for a chemical cocktail. Invest in better FOOD.

  23. Kaleberg says:

    New Coke was about replacing sugar with cheaper high fructose corn syrup. At the time, I assumed that Coca Cola had eliminated the cocaine extract that was being processed for them at Stepan labs, but as of the mid-90s, Stepan was still providing a safe a legal extract for use in their cola product.
    Land of Lakes used to be great butter, but the last two times I tried it they had reduced the fat content or something. It was weirdly flavorless. We switched to Safeway’s pseudo-organic “O” butter which tastes much better.
    This product is a lot like the little plastic packets of pre-measured spices they sell in the meat department. Dried herbs can be expensive and intimidating. I’ll bet an awful lot of people just suddenly freeze when a recipe says “add a half teaspoon of oregano”, just as they freeze when faced with a some simple algebra. Those little pre-measured packets may be a rip off ounce for ounce, but they might just be getting someone over the hump.

  24. BlackSheep0ne says:

    MBA = con artist.

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