Call to end 'Gobbledegook' language on food

Christmas shoppers are being fed too much "gobble-gobbledegook" by supermarkets, according to a language watchdog.

The Plain English Campaign (PEC) says too much food is dressed up with "pointless and meaningless waffle".

Campaign officials criticised food advertising after examining descriptions of supermarket chickens and eggs - plus a selection of other foods.

"The language used to describe food has become comical and the consumer pays for it," said a spokeswoman.

"Much of it is gobbledegook - the appropriate term is probably 'gobble-gobbledegook' given the season.

"We're not asking which came first, the chicken gobbledegook or the egg gobbledegook, but we'd like it to stop."

The PEC, which regularly highlights the use of gobbledegook and in April criticised police chiefs for talking 'ploddledegook', says many descriptions give shoppers no help in deciding what to buy.

"We've found 'all butter mince pies', chickens which lived in 'small mobile arks' or 'spacious barns with windows to allow ample daylight and straw bales to perch on'," said the spokeswoman "What does any of it mean and how does it help people make decisions about which food to buy for Christmas? What on earth is a 'small mobile ark' and how can a mince pie be 'all butter'?"

She added: "Food can't be just food anymore. We have to be given the impression it's 'more than just food'. It's not an egg - it's an egg laid by a hen which had 'freedom to roam in barns and a cereal-based diet'.

"We doubt that any shopper actually reads it. It's gloss dreamed up by advertising agencies who are writing to entertain each other. It's another pointless kind of packaging.

"Chicken is a description of a chicken. Mince pie is a description of a mince pie. Let's get back to keeping things simple and not waste money covering packaging with pointless and meaningless waffle."

Some examples of "gobble-gobbledegook" highlighted by the Plain English Campaign are:

:: Free Range Chicken: "Chickens that have the freedom to range the farms, pastures and hedgerows."

:: Organic Fresh British Chicken: "(Farmer Albert) cares about his chickens" and "(Farmer Tom) is particularly welfare conscious".

:: Fresh British Chicken: "Birds live in small mobile arks. Freedom to range the farm's organic pastures and hedgerows."

:: Free Range Fresh: "Access to range on the pastures and grassland."

:: Fresh British Chicken: "Slow-growing. Fed on a unique vegetarian diet."

:: "(Chickens) housed in spacious barns with windows to allow ample daylight and straw bales to perch on."

:: Fresh British Whole Duck: "Ducks have access to water in order to preen themselves."

:: British free-range chickens: "These free roaming chickens are reared in small spacious farms where they grow at a natural rate and develop rich flavour."

:: Barn Eggs: "Hens that have freedom to roam in barns and have a cereal-based diet."

:: Organic eggs: "Free-range hens fed on an organic diet."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Senior Application Support -Fidessa, Charles River, Oracle, FIX

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Application Support - Fide...

Product Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Product Specialist - (Application...

Technical Specialist - (Application Support, UNIX, SQL)

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Specialist - (Applicati...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home