Wednesday, June 19

Forced Imperfection

There was a really interesting article in Huffington Post this week about food brands creating "forced imperfection" in their food in order to make it look more homemade.  It really struck home to me with a twist of irony ... along with a fascinating switch in food trends.

The article gave examples of brands that in their video and photography of their food, are forcing pizza crusts to not be perfectly shaped, or layers falling over, or ingredients cut on irregular edges ... all in attempt to make them look like they were prepped at home.

It wasn't that long ago that the opposite was true ... when "forced consistency" was the goal.  Making sure that every piece of food looked perfectly prepared, each and every time someone saw it.  Consistency was king then, and a hallmark of "quality."  Evidently not so true anymore in a world where hand cut takes on more meaning and value than conveyor belt.

For years I worked in the food industry and I can remember the painstaking steps we would take in a photo shoot to make sure that the food looked perfect, especially when it was a prop to something else in the shot.  Hours of dicing and primping for forced perfection.  Ahh, the good ole' days?  Now all you need is mom or dad to do their magic!

If you are interested, you can read more about it here on the Huffington Post.

Just for fun, I stopped in at McDonald's at the airport today.  Sure enough, there was the new egg white breakfast sandwich without the perfectly round perfectly consistent egg.  The photograph showed it all so imperfectly folded over onto an unevenly toasted english muffin.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
- President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
- Author, The Experience Effect series
- Professor, NYU
- Contributor, Entrepreneur


  1. Interesting! I buy so few "convenience" foods that I've not noticed this trend. Sometimes I deliberately aim for a "rustic" look in my homemade foods. I'm bookmarking your blog and coming back on my next break.