The SNAP Challenge, Day 2

So far, this is fun. I’m realizing how much money we waste on name-brand food. With a few exceptions, lower-cost products, prepared well, taste just as good. As a design journalist I’ve done several articles on food packaging. And the truth is, most of the time the plain, generic package contains the same stuff.

“It’s been shown for sixty years that the manner in which something is packaged changes the perceived performance of the product. Wine tastes better in a better package, food tastes better, and pain relievers work faster” says Steven Addis, CEO of Addis Creson, a San Francisco area brand consultancy, in an interview for a book I’m finishing about the design business. Several years ago I wrote a piece about the redesign of Treesweet orange juice. Juice that came out of the same vat, reconstituted concentrate, a commodity product, was tested in the existing carton vs. a new carton with a luscious painting of just-picked oranges. The testers thought the juice in the new carton was fresher and more delicious.

Meeting the SNAP Challenge requires forgetting about the carton and concentrating on getting the best value for your money.

Day 2 Breakfast: Generic rice crispies (they are good!) with soy milk and sliced banana.


How is the coffee made from the $2 can? Pretty terrible. In this case, I would spend a few dollars more on a brand like Chock Full O’Nuts.


Day 2 Lunch: Romaine salad with croutons made from yesterday’s leftover French bread topped with two poached eggs, dressed with a bit of the store-brand EVOO with a few drops of vinegar.

Homemade Croutons

It takes less than five minutes to cut up stale bread and sauté it in a little olive oil — much tastier than packaged croutons, which are full of preservatives and artificial ingredients.


Day 2 Dinner: Sunday burger night. I use about a third of the ground beef and garnish the burger with an onion slice and catsup (my second minor cheat) from an open bottle in the fridge; make oven fries with the potato roasted in a teaspoon of EVOO; make a slaw with a quarter of the iceberg lettuce, some celery, carrot. The burger, made with the lowest cost ground beef, is too fatty. Oh, and our beverage. As usual, a tall glass of ice water.

Looking forward to tomorrow (but it would be nice to grab a cookie or two just about now).

About writedesigner

Graphic designer, writer, and gardener Ellen Shapiro is based in Irvington, New York. A frequent contributor to design blogs and magazines including Print, Imprint,, Communication Arts, and Etapes, she writes about trends, issues and personalities in design, illustration, photography, and visual culture around the world.
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