16 Products People Might Stop Buying If They Knew How It Was Made

There are some things we’re all just better off not knowing, if you ask me. For example, if you’re not interested in becoming a vegetarian, you probably don’t need to know how chickens are processed. Just don’t do it.

There are other things, like working conditions in factories that sell goods to American retailers like The Gap, that perhaps more people should be aware of so they can make the right choices when they’re out shopping.

Below are 16 products that people might stop buying if they knew how it was made, and I’ll be honest, the list contains a bit of each type.

16. Make sure to Google this one.

After I found out the story behind the palm plantations for production of palm oil I made it my personal mission to completely throw it our of my life (and that sh.t is in almost everything you eat).

Palm oil is the biggest reason for massive deforestation around the world. South America and Southeast Asia (Indonesia in particular) are producing the most. There are moratoriums on new palm oil plantations, but companies are skirting that issue by paying individuals to start forest fires so that the companies can then buy up the land that is no longer a forest.

The deforestation is destroying habitat for animals like orangutans and tigers. And all of the burning of the forest is also burning peat. Peat is essentially forest detritus that houses huge amounts of C02. By burning it we are quickly releasing all of thst C02 into the atmosphere. Worst of all, the plantations are only good for one or two cycles, then the land is essentially discarded, and new plantations are made.

In my opinion, palm oil production is the greatest ecological disaster in history. It is nearly everything, and essentially impossible to avoid. There are so many different names for it, so it can go unnoticed so easily. Even the supposedly sustainable palm oil production is extremely damaging to the environment it is grown in.

15. It’s all in the bottle.

Most low to mid tier vodkas. I work at an industrial distillery where we make millions of gallons of very high purity ethanol from corn.

We have customers in the beverage market that literally just dilute our product to 80 proof or so, run it through a filter, and bottle it to sell.

Those customers sell their products from anywhere from $8-$50+ for a liter. And you know what the main difference is? The more expensive vodka’s bottle is “fancier”.

It’s almost all brand perception with these corn based vodkas.

14. That’s less than appetizing.

I’ve work in 2 different meat departments in 2 separate grocery stores.

The meat in the case that has had work done, (marinated or like put into kabobs) are usually the old meat we didn’t sell that is about to go bad.

That marinade is hiding how shitty the meat looks.

13. Special doesn’t necessarily mean “special.”

Certain signed art work. Used to work at an art printing company that we did signature editions of certain pieces.

Guess who did the signing me and some coworkers, we were all design and art majors so they just had us learn all the artists signatures, we even had machines that could mimic the signatures too, I wish I had a picture of the devices they were pretty cool.

It was in the fine print that we were doing it and was approved by the artists but I guarantee most people would never buy the prints if they knew the signatures were forged. So always read the fine print when buying items, especially “special” editions of stuff.

12. Eight hours is kind of blowing my mind.


They aren’t insulated fully. Nothing is sealed correctly. All the electronics that are “fancy and new” are outdated and inefficient.

The manufacturers use the cheapest materials possible AND all RVs are built in 8 hours. A vacation home. On wheels. In 8 hours!?

11. I never would have guessed.

This reminds me of a documentary series my dad once watched. Garlic. The garlic industry is a hell of a lot darker than most people would think.

I don’t remember everything, but apparently a lot of Chinese companies that sell to restaurants overseas use prison labor. These inmates have to peel the garlic completely by hand, no tools whatsoever.

There were a few inmates missing fingernails. If I recall correctly, one man said that he had a friend who had to resort to using his teeth because he didn’t have any nails left. They work unimaginably grueling shifts, in which they have to meet a quota for the day or face consequences. They get paid very little, if anything at all. They all seemed so miserable. The series is titled “Rotten”, you can find it on Netflix.

10. This one is hard to stomach.

Chocolate produced by child labor.

9. I guess it’s not so fresh.

“Fresh-squeezed” is marketing. You can deliver orange juice year-round in three ways:

1) buy fresh oranges and squeeze them yourself.
2) squeeze the oranges, remove most of the water and freeze the concentrate. This is sold as frozen concentrate.
3) squeeze the oranges, then separate all the components of the juice mechanically and chemically. Store the various components in huge tanks – sometimes for years. Then mix it with flavors and preservatives, bottle it, and sell it before it separates again. This is sold as fresh squeezed, because it’s never been frozen.

Unless you physically see method 1, method 2 is far, far fresher.

8. I’m going to have to use that.

“Anyone who enjoys sausage and respects the law should never find out how either are made.”

7. Of course they didn’t.

In high school, the girls in my class were horrified to find out what their Uggs were made of.

They had no idea.

6. I hope we’re on the way to fixing this one.

Most baby powder is made with talcum, which is potentially carcinogenic since it works via breaking down into some of the finest pieces we can make, fine enough to cause problems for your cells.

Use cornstarch, we have too much of it, it works by absorbing the moisture. The only caveat is that you have to make sure to shower if off of you regularly enough that it doesn’t mould on you, but that shouldn’t be a problem for someone that showers at least once a week.

5. What a jerk face.

My parents decided to build a house in another state. The builder did not know I lived in the neighborhood. The builder took this nice piece of land and spread about 2 feet of broken concrete over where the front yard and house would be. Not knowing much about construction practices, I took a picture and showed it to a construction engineer friend. He said that was messed up and there was no reason for that.

Hired a local third party engineer to visit the building site, and he said the builder was destroying the land. Parents had a lawyer send a letter to the builder. Builder’s lawyer wrote back, denied any wrong doing. Parents threatened to sue. Builder offered to refund deposit. Rather than waste time/money on a lawsuit, parents took back deposit and walked away. Wasted money on architect fees. Builder completed house.

The finished house was raised 3 feet above of where the natural ground was. Whoever bought that house either didn’t know or care that 6 inches below was tons of broken concrete debris. Fuck that guy and every builder like him.

4. It sounds cynical, but…

I really don’t think there is one. If it’s because the ingredients or preparation are disgusting, I think most people are perfectly happy to keep eating/using it because the finished product is fine.

If it’s a moral reason, I just don’t think most people would care enough to stop using or eating whatever the product is. We’ve known for years that Air Jordans are being made with child labor in sweatshops, and sales haven’t dipped one bit due to that.

And I don’t say this as a cynic, I think we should work to improve conditions for all humanity, but the proportion of consumers who would be bothered enough to stop buying a thing is vanishingly small.

3. Definitely awful.


Bonus story: Had a friend who worked briefly in bridal and was fitting a woman who was boasting how vegan and eco friendly her wedding was going to be. No one was allowed to wear leather etc. All while wearing her dress with huge amounts of silk on it.

ETA: 17/07/20

A lot of people asking if my friend told the bride, so I asked her:

“No I didn’t. The bride and her friend started making fun of my disability when they thought I wasn’t in the room and couldn’t hear them. I would have also lost my job if I had lost the sale”.

2. Womp-womp.

Nothing. People know what goes into hot dogs and chicken nuggets, they still eat them. They’ve seen what the sweatshops look like, and they still buy stuff from there.

1. That is the sad truth.

I want to say sneakers by brands like Nike, who exploit, underpay and abuse their workers, but sadly most people already know how they are made and still buy them.

Well, I’m going to do some soul searching, how about you?

Is there something else that belongs on this list? Add it in the comments!