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Mace & Crown | August 17, 2017

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Faux News: Ingredient Substitution Leads to Hard Times

George Plank
Staff Writer

With the holiday season just around the corner many have their eyes set on the mountain of food that will be consumed during the upcoming weeks. For many, Betty Crocker is just as welcome in the kitchen as a mother or a well-meaning aunt. The brand was created by General Mills to answer questions that customers had about recipes and concerns about their cooking style. Recent developments, however, have consumers asking questions of an entirely different nature.

Linda Hicks, from Atlanta, Georgia, was hosting a small get together last Thursday and wanted to make something special for her friends who had come to visit. “I thought I knew what I was getting myself into when I picked up that box of brownie mix from the Dollar General,” Ms. Hicks said. “When I got home and began to put everything together I did think, for a brief moment, that the substitution suggestion was a bit odd. I’m no Betty Crocker, so I went through with it anyway.”

What struck Ms. Hicks as odd was the fact that as a possible sugar substitute, Viagra was listed on the box. Due in part to a typographical error that occurred in upper management all boxes that came out of General Mills’ distribution center in Social Circle, Georgia all bore this error on the box.

“It was unfortunate that Aldman Jenkins, our 40-year-old next door neighbor was the first to sample the brownies. On the other hand, Mrs. Jenkins never looked so pleased. Some of my friends were mortified and others requested plastic bags with which to take some home for later. All in all not the worst party I’ve ever had. Certainly much better than the ipecac smoothie debacle of 2012,” Hicks said.

This incident has unfortunately brought a fair amount of negative press for Betty Crocker and General Mills. Kendall J. Powell, chairman of the board and CEO of General Mills has apologized on numerous occasions for this incident. “We here at General Mills deeply regret this oversight and we will instill a firmer quality control standard with harder crackdowns against any infractions in the future,” Powell said.

It would seem that Mr. Powell had apologized too soon. Four hours after the news broke Nestle Toll House announced their partnership with Cialis, Pillsbury has a partnership with Levitra, and Hydrox will be working with Extenze. The Betty Crocker incident has opened up the American market to an entirely new segment of products and more and more companies are trying to get in on the action. The new niche market for erectile dysfunction confectionery has become turgid and has given General Mills some stiff competition.