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Newman Owned

May 15, 2017

Paul Newman. Good guy. Dead guy. And I hear it’s bad to speak ill of the dead. Well, how is it to drag a good person’s legacy through the dirt to earn a buck?

But all profits go to charity. Yes. That may be true. But salaries aren’t profits. Neither are bonuses. And you want to know something cool? If your company looks like it’s having record profits, you can give executives bonuses, while still giving enough money to charity to say that you’re doing it.

I have no idea how the Newman’s Own brand operates. But I accidentally ran up against some of the company’s salad dressings recently. And I have to say, I was kind of appalled. Because if Paul Newman was making his own salad dressing, what do you think would be the first ingredient?

It’s not a trick question. Think of your answer, and then click through.

This isn’t up for debate. There is one main ingredient in most salad dressings. Unless you are making green goddess, or some kind of buttermilk dressing, the main ingredient in salad dressing is oil.

Salad dressings are an emulsion of oil with a smaller part of vinegar, with ingredients designed to help hold the emulsion, along with complementary elements to add flavor. Period.

The Newman’s Own dressings I recently came across were more water than anything else.

Yep. The first ingredient is water. Whether it’s the Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing, Newman’s Own Creamy Southwest Dressing, Newman’s Own Low Fat Family Recipe Italian Dressing, or Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing.

Water leads the ingredient list in all four. The next ingredient in half of the dressings is Corn Syrup Solids, except in the Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing where Corn Syrup Solids come in third after Soybean Oil. And the Low Fat Balsamic has sugar as its third ingredient after a grape must sweetened balsamic vinegar.

I’m pretty sure that when Paul Newman was making his own Balsamic Vinaigrette, his recipe didn’t include xanthan gum or oleoresin paprika.

Who knows. He’s long gone. So we can’t ask him.

This discovery came at a recent trip to McDonald’s. The brand invited me to try the new signature sandwiches, so I was trying to be a little healthier. So that meant I got the grilled chicken sandwich with guacamole and pico de gallo, an unsweetened iced tea, and a salad instead of french fries.

That last part was especially galling. I’ve never done that before. Which is why I was completely unprepared when asked what kind of salad dressing I wanted. Really, the answer was “no salad dressing”, because I really didn’t want the salad in the first place. But part of me wants to be making healthful choices.

Here’s the problem.

I know that fat is better than sugar. But I also suspected many of the dressings would be relatively high in sugar. Especially ones that are lower in fat. On the flip side, I didn’t want to fall into the salad trap of topping vegetables with enough soybean oil to make them nutritionally indistinguishable from french fries.

Egads. Choosing blindly, I went Italian, not knowing any of the nutritional information, nor being privy to the ingredient lists.

But it turns out, that when looking at its relative sugar content, the Low-Fat Italian is the best of the four. Sure, sugar may be the second ingredient, but it’s mostly water. Ugh. It hurts my head just to think about it.

For what it’s worth, in this case I don’t blame McDonald’s. I blame society.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2017 10:10 am

    A family member has had dealings with the Newman’s Own Foundation, and I am pretty sure they are legit. So, I went on their website to look up their salad dressing ingredients:

    I think the clown may be trolling you…

    • May 15, 2017 10:15 am

      A brand is only as strong as its weakest link. And I’m not suggesting all of the N.O. dressings are primarily sugar and water. But the brand has chosen to put its name on those packets. So they own that.

    • May 15, 2017 10:16 am

      Hmm… I took a closer look at your photo and it says “Restaurant Dressing” on the packet. So you are saying that you looked at all the packets and the ingredients are as described? Which would seem to indicate there is a secret menu, as it were, of toxic Newman’s On products that are only available through foodservice. Now that’s a scandal worth investigating.

    • May 15, 2017 10:34 am

      Here is a link to the picture picture of the actual packet I received:

  2. May 15, 2017 10:39 am

    Well, there’s the evidence. I’m going to ping @NewmansOwn and see what they have to say about this.

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