The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

20 July 2008

What do you think you are eating?

More and more of us are eating pre-prepared food. This could be a pre-prepared complete meal or food which has been chilled or frozen; it could be food that has been canned or bottled; it could be dried and then reconstituted by the addition of water. Whatever the food, it will usually be nicely packaged.

We will make our buying choices partly through the images of the food that have been printed on the packaging. We do this, despite knowing from experience that the pictures on the package are seldom anything like what’s inside – which may be greyer, soggier, and altogether less appealing than the picture.

If you don’t believe this, then go to the website Go to this page: for the first product and then scroll through by pressing the “nachstes” button (yes, the website is in German) through to Each product has three images: the package; the image of the food inside that has been printed on the package; and a photograph of what’s actually inside.

Do the following:
1. Visit the pundo website and feel disgusted about the whole idea of food that has been prepared for you in factories; and start cooking real food for yourself, when you know exactly what ingredients you are using and you can use your culinary arts to make it look delicious.
2. If you encounter any particularly stomach-churning examples of prepared food and how the contents look completely different from the picture on the package, then photograph it, and send your photos to The Guardian newspaper at and they'll put the best photographs in a gallery. You can also post your comments on any particularly revolting example on The Guardian blog at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, it was unexpected for me that many of the actual food items inside were almost identical to the pictures on the packaging. O_o

of course your point is different, just wanted to share my amazement.

12:05 am  
Anonymous Jade said...

I found I had a similar response, the final products didn't look entirely appetizing, but they were fairly close to the pictures on the packets.
I am, however, all for openly advertising how many animals died to create these products and having some sort of 'environmental impact' labeling regulation, so that consumers can be made aware of the gross impact small choices have on the world.

4:02 am  

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