We have been had, tricked, bamboozled, duped. No, I am not talking about Lance Armstrong. I am talking about the scoundrels and swindlers at Alexia, who have fooled us for the better part of a year. We are outraged at their conniving, underhanded tactics. Alert the villagers! Light the torches! Raid! Raid!
Ok, that was too far. I am sure the people at Alexia are neither scoundrels nor swindlers, but kind, well-meaning folks who work hard to feed their families and provide the grocery-buying public with all-natural frozen foods and side dishes. But they seriously need to update their packaging.
We have been gleefully eating Alexia’s spicy sweet potato fries for quite some time. Sweet potato fries, while not really a vegetable, are a healthy alternative to regular fries, potato chips, and other carb-y side dishes. I can’t tell you how many Friday nights Liz and I have come home from the gym, fired up the oven for some sweet potato fries, grilled some strip steak, and settled in for an episode of Shark Tank.
We chose Alexia’s sweet potato fries because according to their packaging, they gave us the most nutritious bang for our buck. The nutritional information on the bag claims that one serving is three ounces or 30 pieces for just 130 calories. 30 fries! That’s a restaurant portion at home-cooked calories. It was too good to be true, but it must be so! It says it right there on the package!
Still, something never quite added up for me about the serving sizes. The same bag that we blindly trusted also told us each package contains seven servings, so if you do the math we should have been able to stretch the bag of over three meals each with some left for a rainy day, but we were cashing out our sweet potato fries in just two meals.
This always puzzled me, but I looked the other way because I wanted to. The deliciousness of this healthy side dish blinded my judgment until last Friday.
To find out how they packed so few calories into so many fries, I checked Alexia’s website. What I found brought all the pieces together and solved the serving-size mystery for good. Their website lists a serving as 12 fries, and you can imagine our surprise when we learned we were eating two-and-a-half times the actual serving size for a whopping 325 calories a plate. Liz sent Alexia’s customer service department a politely stern email recommending they update their packaging so they don’t leave loyal customers like us feeling betrayed. And guilty.
We own some of the blame here. I should have gone on my little fact-finding mission the first time I thought something was amiss about the serving size, but like I said, I was swept up by the idea that I could eat that much for so few calories. We should have known better.
Wait. Maybe I am talking about Lance Armstrong. I think there is a loose, albeit imperfect, connection here. Follow me, if you will.
If a bag of all-natural sweet potato fries tells you can eat 30 fries for 130 calories, it’s too good to be true.
If a diet promises you that you will lose weight without making any lifestyle changes, it’s too good to be true.
If you receive a poorly crafted email from a little-known African prince who wants to give you millions of dollars for virtually nothing in return, it’s too good to be true.
If a cyclist wins seven Tour de France titles after beating cancer without using PEDs in the dirtiest neighborhood in the filthy world of sports, it’s too good to be true.
As consumers of anything—food or otherwise—we always need to exercise common sense. When it comes to the sweet potato fries, we failed to do that. We won’t make that mistake again.
To put a nice, clean ribbon on this story, the customer service department at Conagra, Alexia’s parent company, sent Liz an email this evening saying they will be updating their packaging to clear up the serving size discrepancy. And they are sending us some coupons. Put out the torches. Call off the raid.