Steeped in Marketing

Just the other day I tried a tiny, elegant mint shaped like a leaf. Flavored with green tea, it was the most vile thing I’ve put in my mouth for a while. Why, I mused, would anyone make a green tea–flavored mint?

Slate explains how our passion for health fads has led to “The Green Teaing of America.” The leaves would seem to have an almost magical healing ability:

[V]arious studies suggested that green tea might lower the risk of various cancers, reduce heart disease, slow aging, lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, improve diabetes and arthritis, help people lose weight, and produce cold fusion.

But, as the article points out, how can we expect to lose weight when we consume our green tea not in small cups of unsweetened brew, but in venti-sized green tea Frappuccinos, green tea truffles, or, ridiculously, Green Tea Gummy Pandas?

Writer Jacob Weisberg has fun cataloging our obsession with the tea, which is not limited to high-fat drinks and candy, but extends to scented candles and soaps, vodka, and even transdermal patches. I can’t figure out whether you wear these to get green tea into your body faster, or to help you kick your addiction to green tea.

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