Supermarkets are cathedrals of desperate marketing, where brands try to out-promote each other in a desperate attempt to find a place in your basket. The empty litany of meaningless words try and convey an aura of quality that bears no relation to the products they sell.
Here are five examples
The majority of products using this word are cat foods. This is strange because my cat’s idea of gourmet is eating a live frog on the lawn. Cats are not gourmets, nor could anyone be who cleans their own genitals orally in front of strangers. So the gourmet part of the label is intended to convince owners that they are serving some gourmet treat to their cat. So try this out yourselves, open a can of Gourmet cat food, have a long, deep sniff and tell me if the word gourmet leaps to mind.
Finest is one of those dangerous words because it doesn’t give you a lot of places to go. Your next range could be Ultimate but you’d be expecting finest to be pretty outstanding. Enter Ye Olde Oak Finest Tinned Ham. I can excuse them if what they mean is this is our finest tinned ham as opposed to our worst tinned ham but the whole notion of tinned ham is a long way from finest. Tinned ham lives in a food category along with SPAM, tinned stewing steak and tinned peas. The target audience are those for whom whale meat was a war time treat and who hunger for Wether’s originals and Stannah Stair Lifts.
This is a strange group of products; mainly biscuits, cereals and dog food. The first two I can understand but dog food is a strange one. Caesars Country Kitchen Tender Beef with Pasta and Carrots for dogs confused me. I didn’t know are pasta and carrots are things dogs eat or indeed that country dogs are especially fond of those things. Whatever next burrito and chilli flavour for Chiwawas or Cod Rogan Gosh for Bengal cats.
This is a large category that doesn’t suffer the ‘finest’ problem. Rather it implies the best bits. Choice morsels, butchers choice and so on. However, the most bizarre product using the word is the NUK Mickey Mouse First Choice Feeding Bottle. I’m not sure whose first choice it is. Certainly not the baby, who is moving from its mother’s breast to feeding from a plastic bottle and having a grinning plastic rodent shoved 3 inches from its face. An army of lawyers will grow rich defending serial killers who claim they were traumatised by Mickey at an early age.
Another lovely non-word, which has lost all it’s meaning especially when applied to Princess Canned Hot Dogs containing 45% mechanically recovered chicken, chicken fat, beef collagen and E451,E452,E250 and E155. All I can say if that premium I wouldn’t fancy sitting down to a plate of their economy range.