Food blog

The Shocking Truth Behind the Foods You’ll Never Buy Again

Foods You’ll Stop Buying Once You Know How They’re Made

Today’s 21st century conveniences make it super easy to get almost any kind of food you want. Pick it off the shelf at the grocery store, order it on Amazon, or order it from a local supermarket and have it delivered. It’s commonplace now, and it’s almost mind-boggling to think that even a century ago, food was hard to come by.
This convenience has come at a cost, and not just in dollar signs. Because it’s so easy to get food, it’s easy to think that it must be easy to make food. We might grab a piece of candy from the checkout line and not think twice about where it came from, or we might pick up a mix of cheeses to snack on when the neighbors come over for weekly board game night. It’s all harmless enough, right?
Not quite. There are actually a number of foods that are produced in ways that might make you think twice about throwing them in your shopping cart, and you know the old saying: knowledge is power.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce is essentially a modern incarnation of the ancient Roman condiment garum, which was made by filling vats with fish guts, herbs, and salt, then letting it sit in the sun until it developed just the right amount of funk. Sounds gross, right? Well, it’s not just some old-fashioned grossness – it’s basically how the fish sauce in your cupboard is made today.
Phu Quoc fish sauce, one of the most prized Asian fish sauces, is made using the same anchovy-only method that’s been around for 200 years. Anchovies are mixed with a saltwater brine, poured into huge rattan barrels, and left to ferment in the island sun. The contents of the barrel begin to liquefy, and the smell? It’s unmistakable.
After it’s been sitting for a week, there’s a daily routine of draining off what’s turned to liquid and returning it to the vats with the fermenting fish. This is done over and over again, and it can take up to a year for the manufacturers to get the right amount of funk and consistency. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Hot Dogs

First, let’s point out that not all hot dogs are created equal. There are some that are healthier and less mystery meat than others. But the process of actually making hot dogs is super gross.
Hot dogs are made with toppings. That’s true, but it’s not the whole truth. Just listen to this explanation of “trimmings” from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: “The raw meat materials used for pre-cooked-cooked products are low-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal hides, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products.”
In the actual manufacturing process, all trimmings go through a series of pre-cooking, pureeing, and seasoning processes, and then they’re pressed into casings. No amount of ketchup and mustard can hide that fact.

Gummy Bears

When Belgian filmmaker Alina Kneepkens made a short film documenting every step of the gummy bear (and every other gummy candy) manufacturing process, it was so graphic that it scared people away from ever eating gummy candy again.
Without getting into the gory details, it’s all because of gelatin, a key ingredient in gummy bears. Long before the bright colors are added and the fun shapes are formed, animal carcasses are dismembered, cut into pieces, and the skin and bones are boiled for a long, long time. It’s all to get gelatin, the ingredient that gives gummy treats their “gummy” texture. It’s one of those things where even if you know the basics, you’re not prepared for the gory details.

Weirdly flavored jelly beans

Jelly Belly relies on a combination of our sense of taste and smell to create those disgusting flavors like vomit, skunk, or rotten eggs. They take the real thing – like socks that have been worn and aged for weeks to cultivate that powerful smell – and put it in a gas chromatograph. The object is then heated, and it gives off vapors of the odor they’re trying to recreate. The machine maps the chemical makeup of the stink, translates it into flavors, and then it’s turned into Jelly Belly flavor juice. In short, it tastes so realistic because it’s based on the exact chemical signature of the real thing.

Bottled Water

Nestle pays just $524 a year for a permit to take millions of gallons of water from California’s national forests. In 2015, an investigation by The Desert Sun revealed that Nestle was bottling water from the San Bernardino National Forest using a permit that expired in 1988. They were essentially taking water from a public resource and profiting from it without paying a fair price.
This revelation sparked outrage among environmentalists and activists who argued that bottling water for profit was an unsustainable practice, especially in drought-prone areas like California. It also brought attention to the issue of water privatization and the ethical concerns surrounding it.

Processed cheese

Processed cheese, often found in products such as cheese slices and cheese spreads, is made from a combination of natural cheese, emulsifiers and other additives. The process involves heating and melting the cheese, mixing it with additives to improve texture and shelf life, and then cooling and forming it into the desired shape.
One of the main concerns about processed cheese is the high levels of additives and preservatives it contains. These additives, such as sodium citrate and sodium phosphate, are used to enhance flavor, improve texture and extend shelf life. However, they can also contribute to health problems, including high blood pressure and kidney problems.
In addition, processed cheese often lacks the nutritional value and complex flavors of natural cheese. It is a highly processed and artificial product that may not provide the same satisfaction and enjoyment as a high-quality, artisanal cheese.


Knowing how certain foods are made can be a real eye-opener. It’s important to be aware of the processes behind the foods we consume and to make informed choices about what we put in our bodies. While some of these revelations can be off-putting, they can also serve as an opportunity to explore other options and seek out more natural and sustainable alternatives.
By understanding the production methods and ingredients used in our favorite foods, we can make informed choices that align with our values and health goals. Whether it’s opting for fish sauce alternatives, choosing high-quality hot dogs, or indulging in all-natural sweets, being informed empowers us to make choices that support our well-being.
So the next time you reach for a food item at the grocery store, take a moment to consider its origin and production process. You may find yourself making different choices and discovering new foods that are more in line with your values and preferences. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to the foods we consume.


Are all fish sauces made the same way?

No, not all fish sauces are made using the exact same ancient method. However, some traditional fish sauces, such as Phu Quoc fish sauce, still use the anchovy-only method that has been used for centuries.

Are all hot dogs made with the same inferior ingredients?

Not all hot dogs are made with the same substandard ingredients. The quality and composition of hot dogs can vary depending on the brand and manufacturing process. However, it’s important to know that lower-grade meat trimmings and by-products are commonly used in the production of hot dogs.

Does all gummy candy contain gelatin from animal carcasses?

Not all gummy candies contain gelatin derived from animal carcasses. However, the gelatin that gives gummy candies their texture is often derived from animal hides and bones. It’s important to check the ingredients or look for gelatin-free alternatives if you prefer not to consume animal-derived products.

How do jelly bean manufacturers create weird flavors like vomit or skunk?

Jelly bean manufacturers use a process called gas chromatography to create unique flavors like vomit or skunk. They analyze the chemical makeup of the real thing and recreate it using flavor compounds. This gives the jelly beans their realistic taste, even though they don’t actually contain those disgusting substances.

Is all bottled water ethically sourced?

Not all bottled water is ethically sourced. There have been cases where companies have extracted water from public resources without proper permits or at low cost, leading to concerns about water privatization and environmental sustainability. It’s important to research the practices of bottled water companies and choose brands that prioritize ethical sourcing.

Are there healthier alternatives to processed cheese?

Yes, there are healthier alternatives to processed cheese. Choosing natural, artisanal cheeses made using traditional methods can provide a more nutritious and flavorful option. In addition, exploring plant-based cheese alternatives made from nuts or soy can be a healthier choice for those looking to avoid processed cheese products.

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