Just how powerful is branding? National Public Radio recently posted an interesting segment in regards to lard of all things and its lack of popularity due in large part to branding. You can find this podcast as part of their Planet Money feature:
On today’s podcast, we ask — who killed lard? Was it Upton Sinclair? His novel, The Jungle, contained [a] memorable passage about the men who cook lard. Or should we blame William Procter and James Gamble? It was their company which created a new alternative to lard — the “pure and wholesome” Crisco.
One of my colleagues brought the podcast to my attention, being the avid baker that I am. I can’t say I’ve ever used lard in any of my baking but I do know bakers that are strong advocates of the stuff. I’ve gone head to head in pie competitions between friends and lose every time! The winner proudly touts it’s the lard he’s committed to using that creates the best piecrust.