Like a pair of pre-ripped jeans from Abercrombie or a distressed logo tee from Zazzle, America's food conglomerates are embracing a more easy breezy natural look when it comes to your food. And as expected, making processed food seem unprocessed involves more processing.
Responding to American's growing concern over over-processed food, engineers for Kraft, Wendy's, McDonald's Domino's and others are now increasingly attempting to give their products a homemade and real appearance.
Kraft Foods food engineers reportedly spent two years creating a process that allowed for uneven turkey slabs for their Carving Board line. Wendy's transformed their famously perfect square beef chunks into wavy, "natural squares" to accomodate costumers who said the perfect square seemed processed. Similarly, the Egg White Delight McMuffin at McDonald's is going for a squiggly circle rather than the disturbingly perfect, round animal product disc that is characteristic of the Egg McMuffin. Domino's pizza churners are instructed to tweak the perfect rectangles on their "Artisan Pizzas" to achieve a natural crudeness of homemade pies.
The most illustrative story is from Hillshire Brands Company—also deceptively known as Hillshire Farms. At Hillshire, they crush, mash, and mush meat products into tubes and slivers, respectively. Hillshire is now dyeing the edges of the meat slices with caramel food coloring, after customers requested a "grainier" appearance from their poultry wafers. While Hillshire is working achieve a more wholesome look, their vice president of marketing, Reggie Moore, said it's crucial to always be adapting their food chunks to fit changing standards of appearance, as the definition of "natural" changes from customer to customer.