“I’m not making wheatgrass here. If I could put an agave plant and some limes on a shelf I would. [The Skinnygirl Margarita] is as close to nature as possible, while still being a shelf-stable product. … We were bound to piss someone off and everyone loves to try to tear down a success. This is a non-event. I haven’t lost even a wink of sleep.” – Comments made by Skinnygirl Margarita Founder and former Real Housewife of New York Bethenny Frankel after it was reported that Whole Foods had removed her product from their shelves because it contained a preservative that does not meet the chain’s quality standards.
Two issues immediately came to my mind when I read about this situation: 1) Why was the product described as “all natural” and “no preservatives” when it contains a preservative; and 2) Yes, people do try to knock down a success and is this what this matter is about?
Well, Bethenny’s Skinny Girl Margarita isn’t the only product being accused of false claims. Kashi Co. is the target of a federal class action lawsuit for mislabeling their products as free of artificial ingredients, even though they knew that some of their GoLean and TLC products are “composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients.” The problem with these erroneous claims is that consumers are paying their hard-earned money to buy food they believe is “good” for them. In reality, the food may not be healthy and may, in fact, cause a reaction or illness. Perhaps Bethenny could have used other words to describe the SkinnyGirl Margarita knowing it contained sodium benzoate (a preservative so it can stay on shelves, according to a rep from SkinnyGirl); her “people” should have known better. As for Kashi, shame on then for using a hefty advertising budget to dupe consumers into buying unnatural, processed food.
I don’t want people I care about being confused about the food they eat. I love taking some clients through the supermarket and examining food labels to explain why one product may be healthier than another. Food shopping is baffling and that’s what manufacturers count on – consumer confusion so that buyers will rely on product claims (which are often false).
So are the reports about SkinnyGirl Margarita because people really care about what they are buying and eating, or is this a ploy to embarrass Bethenny Frankel because she “made it big” and got very rich? It’s hard to say and maybe it is a combination of the two. I don’t watch The Real Housewives of New York, but I did listen when my sister gave me updates on the women and their lives. And yes, I was curious to follow Bethenny’s rise to fame and fortune. She is a natural foods chef and a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health and I appreciated her references to healthy food and nourishing lifestyle.
Fear of success held me back as I worked hard to establish Bravo! Wellness. “What would people think,” I wondered. “Would they be mad at me,” I asked myself. But then I realized each and every one of us can live our dreams – the knowledge and power is within us – and I recognized my role in the process is to empower others to live their best life through healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices.
My hope for Bethenny is that this matter is a bump in the road and that people can, in fact, celebrate her success. If there is sodium benzoate in SkinnyGirl Margarita, she needs to admit that and either remix her cocktail without any preservatives, or explain what the purpose of the preservative is and let consumers decide for themselves if they wish to use a product that contains such an ingredient – just don’t mislead them.
- Read food labels – know what you are eating and make educated choices about the food you buy.
- Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all. Don’t convince yourself that “low-calorie” means the alcohol isn’t going to affect your body.
- Believe in yourself, your goals and your dreams.
- Celebrate your successes!
These steps will help you live a healthy life by making nourishing food choices. Cultivating a strong belief system for a balanced life is also crucial to your success (in weight management, health, family and business). If you are concerned about your eating habits, mindset and lifestyle choices and want to discuss options for change, contact me at or call 413-282-7286. At Bravo! Wellness, I work with my clients to create manageable lifestyle changes so they are able to achieve their greatest potential in life, health and business.