Arm & Hammer Responds
By Widge - posted 07.21.08 @ 1:35 pm
Okay, so after my searing exposÃ© of Arm & Hammer's seemingly weakened baking soda, while I was sitting around recuperating from yet another bout of hard-hitting white knuckled journalism, who should ping me in response: but a publicist for Arm & Hammer. I figured I had nothing better to do while sitting around and waiting for my Peabody Award, so let's see what they have to say.
I work for Arm & Hammer and wanted to quickly clarify the new 30-day messaging on the Arm & Hammer Fridge-N-Freezer box. I'm sure you know that Arm & Hammer Baking Soda has 100s of uses- from polishing silver to deodorizing your stinky gym shoes, but it is most commonly used to deodorize the fridge.
So first up I'm already on the defensive, because I'm trying to figure out how the hell they know about my gym shoes. But that's another issue.
We are telling consumers to change the box every 30 days because we've found that baking soda helps prevent taste-transfer in your refrigerator, meaning it helps keep the foods in your fridge tasting fresher longer when it is replaced each month.
When you have garlic cloves in your fridge and, say, mozzarella cheese, the garlic can overtake the mozzarella, making it taste like the garlic. But, when you place the Fridge-N-Freezer box in your refrigerator, it keeps those flavors separate from each other- preventing the taste transfer and keeping your refrigerated foods tasting the way they should.
Fair enough--further research has shown that garlicky cheese can be prevented if you buy three times the amount of our product that you did previously. Which makes sense, I guess, on the outset. But I have a problem with this. Let's conduct a thought experiment. Come with me, won't you?
Garlic has been around since The Bible, which means the scientific term for that is Really Old.
Mozzarella has been around since Cleopatra, so they say. Which means the scientific term for that is Also Really Old.
So the new kid on the block is Baking Soda. (Well, and fridges.)
So what Arm & Hammer is saying here is that after approximately a hundred years of having the product on the shelf, they've learned in the past few months that it helps with taste transfer but only if you buy it once a month. This is new news to them and a new application of the product and hey, a benefit to the consumer. I can buy that, no problem.
Although...it would kind of make the entire thing pointless if I were to find a press release from 1999 that said that "taste-transfer" was an issue, even back in those halcyon days of yore. And wait, here's a website quoting what the Arm & Hammer site used to say, that "We recommend that you replace the ARM & HAMMERÂ® Baking Soda in your fridge and freezer every 3 months to keep them smelling fresh and to prevent any taste transfer between stored foods. We can even send you a reminder via E-Mail--just check out our Reminder page."
So basically we're right back where we started. One of three things has occurred.
A) Arm & Hammer's product has gotten weaker so you need to buy three times the amount that you previously needed to avoid taste transfer
2) Food odors have somehow gotten stronger, probably due to global warming
III) Arm & Hammer (not the publicist, who was very nice and I'd like to make it clear I'm not picking on them since they were giving me Arm & Hammer's story and that's their job--but this is my job) just wants to sell three times the amount of baking soda they did in the past and figured out a way to try and do so.
You make the call.