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How Pink Salt Took Over Millennial Kitchens

"We’ve been told we’re not supposed to eat salt, but we need to, and we’re biologically compelled to, and flavor doesn’t work without it. So we had to find some way to understand this tension between the existential terror of eating it and the physiological reality of needing it. What we did was we said, ‘Uh, natural salt, pink salt, whatever—that’s safe.’”

Mark Bitterman

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How Pink Salt Took Over Millennial Kitchens

How Pink Salt Took Over Millennial Kitchens

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/12/himalayan-pink-salt-in-your-kitchen/577390/

theatlantic.com

4

Key Ideas

No Special Powers

While most food fads are due to them having a particular quality, like health benefits, this hasn't been the case with Pink Salt.

The sudden rise of Pink Salt has nothing to do with the wellness advantages but with timing and marketing.

Aesthetically Pleasing Pink

As a lesson for marketers, the popularity of pink salt has been due to various dynamics in food, media, and health.

Pink salt might be pretty, but it wouldn’t have reached its current popularity without a significant boost from trendy notions of wellness. Some point out the pink color, which makes it attractive to consumers.

"We’ve been told we’re not supposed to eat salt, but we need to, and we’re biologically compelled to, and flavor doesn’t work without it. So we had to find some way to understand this tension between the existential terror of eating it and the physiological reality of needing it. What we did was we said, ‘Uh, natural salt, pink salt, whatever—that’s safe.’”

"We’ve been told we’re not supposed to eat salt, but we need to, and we’re biologically compelled to, and flavor doesn’t work without it. So we had to find some way to understand this tension between the existential terror of eating it and the physiological reality of needing it. What we did was we said, ‘Uh, natural salt, pink salt, whatever—that’s safe.’”

'Mystical' Origins

Himalayan salt’s status as an outsider in American and European traditions seems key to its success.

Because pink salt is marketed as healthy and Eastern, it joins condiments like turmeric and matcha as ingredients that have long become fetishized—and sometimes appropriated—for their mystical foreignness and near-magical medicinal properties. 

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Meat from labs

Meat might have finally met its match. Some meat is now being cultured and grown into slabs that mimic meat.

It currently goes by names such as in-vitro meat, cultured meat, lab-grown mea...

Labeling lab-grown meat

  • In 1869, margarine was invented as a butter replacement. The dairy farmers raised the alarm in the United States; They convinced the U.S. Government to tax margarine and lobbied against the use of yellow dyes to make the butter replacement look more buttery.
  • Dairy farmers objected to soymilk and almond milk being called milk, but the FDA hasn't done anything to stop brands from using the word.

Unlike margarine or soymilk, cultured meat is biochemically identical to the substance it's competing with.

Making the rules

The USDA (responsible for overseeing agriculture) and the FDA (regulating drugs and dietary supplements) both could have some say in how lab-grown meat is labeled.

  • From a production standpoint, cultured meat is more in line with the way drugs and additives are made in a lab.
  • From a final product, if lab-grown meat is going to end up next to the traditionally slaughtered meat, the USDA should take charge.

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The “IKEA effect”

The “IKEA effect”

If you make things more laborious, the consumers will value them more.

In the 1950s, a US food company wanted to sell more of its brand of instant cake mixes. They were advised to...

Testing the IKEA effect

Labor alone can be sufficient to induce a greater liking for your own work. A study confirmed the phenomenon. Experiments involved assembling IKEA boxes, folding origami, and building with Lego.

  • The results showed participants valued items they assembled themselves more, demonstrated by their willingness to pay to keep it.
  • However, when participants spent too much time building or deconstructing their creations, or failed to complete the task, their willingness to pay for the item declined.

Related concepts

Several other important economic behaviors that are connected to the IKEA effect are:

  • The endowment effect: Owning a product increases its perceived value.
  • Effort justification: An individual who makes a sacrifice to achieve a goal attribute greater value to the achievement.
  • Personal preference: The fact of being attached to a particular brand.

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Natural

The term is not formally defined by the Food and Drug Administration. But, the government agency doesn't object to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial...

Organic

The term organic doesn't necessarily mean healthy, as evidenced by organic candies and baked goods. Once again, when buying packaged food, the real litmus test is the ingredient list.

The Organic Seal indicates that food was produced without industrialized substances and under humane conditions. It goes from “100% organic” to "Made With Organic Ingredients"(the product was made with a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, with restrictions on the remaining 30%, including no GMOs.)

Local

There is no formal national definition for the term local. What local does not mean is organic or more nutritious, which is something many believe.

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