(♪♪)>>Erica: Time to meet up with the winner of Canada’s dumbest charge!>>Erica: Five Canadians took on big companies. And five frustrating fees.>>Heyho, heyho, this paper charge has got to go.>>Erica: In a nationwide competition to find Canada’s dumbest charge, they went head to head for your vote!>>You people are bandits.>>Erica: Now the results are in. Who did you pick? What is Canada’s dumbest charge? (dog barking)>>Erica: You’re about to find out. (♪♪)>>Tom: But first up, we’re in a grocery store, shopping for gluten free goods.>>Tom: To gluten, or not to gluten. That’s our question. Trying to get at the truth behind the trend.>>Tom: Excuse me. Should I buy gluten free pasta or regular pasta.>>Gluten free.>>Tom: Really?>>I think it’s better for you.>>Tom: Hmm. Let’s see what another shopper thinks. Hey there, excuse me. Do you think I should buy regular pasta or the gluten free?>>You should probably try the gluten free one. I believe it’s healthier.>>Tom: Yup, once a specialty found in health food stores, gluten free products are now mainstream.>>Tom: Betty Crocker? What’s cookin’ Betty? They’re everywhere! Pancake mix, gluten free. Pancakes from scratch every Sunday. Avoiding gluten is the food obsession du jour. In fact, one in five of us steer clear.>>Tom: Hmm. Gluten zero, Tom one.>>You read all these magazine articles, or newspaper articles that say if you feel this way, maybe try gluten free products. You won’t — you’ll feel better, you won’t feel so bloated. Maybe even lose some pounds, you know?>>Tom: So is that what all this is all about? A healthier diet? I push on for answers. These look good. Glutino. Excuse me. Should I buy these cookies?>>Well, it depends. Are you celiac?>>Tom: No.>>Then move along Mister. This is my food.>>Tom: Actually, we know who this guy is. He’s B.C. comedian Darcy Michael. And the gluten-free trend has got him shaking his head. Why? For Darcy, it’s not a lifestyle choice — it’s a necessity.>>People aren’t treating it like the disease that it is. They’re treating it like Atkins diet. It’s too trendy. It’s too trendy. Stop it! You’re ruining my life.>>Tom: Darcy’s one of only about 35,000 Canadian diagnosed with celiac disease. Gluten attacks him.>>Tom: Living with it, what’s the physical effect if you have some –>>It’s terrible, like if I — the first year into being gluten-free I said to my husband, I was like, I’m gonna to go and have a burger. I want to go and get a fast food burger. I haven’t had one in a year. And the next morning it was like a dinosaur coming out of the bedroom. I was like roooaaarrr. And my waist was 8 inches bigger. And as a gay man that is the worst punishment in the world, you know? You do not want to have an 8 inch belly — or well, most gay men are like 8 inches, so fat. (laughter)>>But no, besides like, just the pure bloating, you’re just emotionally you’re a wreck and physically you’re like, I can’t eat for days afterwards.>>Tom: And how long do those symptoms last?>>I call it being glutened — if I get glutened, I could be off work for 2 weeks from it — just being sick.>>Tom: So what is the truth? Should we all fear being glutened, especially with all the caution wrapped around it. Caution that’s got many of us tied in knots. And it’s no wonder. Check out all these headlines. Shrink your waistline, with a decadent gluten free ingredient. Gwyneth Paltrow shares how going gluten-free changed her family’s life. And get this, more than four million Canadians are going gluten free. Wow! (♪♪)>>Tom: When it comes to the gluten free trade, companies go where the celebrities are.>>I don’t discriminate when it comes to food so I like to try everything. I tried Udi’s today and I like it.>>Tom: Check out this video brought to you by Udi’s. A huge North American brand. Trotting out a galaxy of stars.>>We’ve seen a lot of changes in our health. We feel a lot better. Going ga-ga over Udi’s gluten free products.>>What I experience is that it tastes potentially even better. (laughter)>>Tom: But, unless celebrities have celiac disease, Darcy Michael says the stars should keep their mouths shut.>>Tom: What do you make of the celebrities who are going gluten-free and saying it’s changed their lives?>>Oh yeah, like Miley Cyrus says it’s how she lost all the weight, saying gluten is crap. Which is ironic because that’s how I found out I was allergic to gluten. (laughter)>>Tom: So what is gluten? A protein that gives bread its spring. Found in wheat, barley and rye. But do we actually know that? Canadian movie stars Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel lampoon the anti-gluten trend in their hit film “This is the End.” You don’t even know what gluten is!>>I (bleep) know what gluten is.>>You have no idea.>>I do know what gluten is. Gluten’s a vague term. It’s something that’s used to categorize things that are bad. You know, calories, that’s a gluten. Fat, that’s a gluten.>>Somebody just told you, you probably shouldn’t eat gluten. You’re like, oh, I guess I shouldn’t eat gluten. Gluten means bad (bleep), and I’m not eating it.>>Mmm, this bite is better than the previous bite.>>Tom: Funny stuff. Compared to those guys, our shoppers know more right? Time for Darcy and I to find out.>>I’m just the eye candy for this interview.>>Oh, I thought I was the eye candy.>>Tom: I thought I was the eye candy. Okay jeez. Do you know what gluten is?>>Uh, one of the items in — in wheat products. Starch?>>Tom: Starch? Not quite!>>I tend to think sometimes maybe it’s a new trend.>>Would it be — ooh, like a starch. A wheat.>>(mumbling) Protein.>>Protein.>>Tom: Bingo! (laughter)>>You got it!>>Tom: It’s a game show! Seems to be a lot of guesswork when it comes to gluten. Timothy Caulfield leads the health law institute at the University of Alberta. He’s studied the food industry’s influence on consumers for years.>>Tom: Where’s the marketing philosophy or strategy coming from?>>History tells us that people are often looking for a simple answer. They want a particular component, right? Whether it’s sugar, whether it’s fat, whether it’s salt, something that’s going to fix their health issues. And I think marketers can play on that, right? They can play on — it’s almost like simplifying the story around nutrition to this component of going gluten-free.>>Tom: That story seems to be working. Remember, in Canada, only about 35,000 people have been diagnosed with celiac disease. Yet millions of us are trying to avoid it. To the tune of half a billion dollars in sales. So how does that break down at the cash register? (♪♪) (cheering and applause)>>Tom: Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Price is What?” Let’s meet our contestants? Cassidy and Chris. Come on down! (applause) (♪♪)>>Tom: They’re both shopping for meals but who will get the better deals? She’s gluten free. And he’s fancy free! Let’s get things started with Betty Crocker devil’s food cake mix. Cost? $2.49. How about Betty’s gluten-free cake mix? $6.99! (buzz)>>Tom: Almost three times the price! (♪♪) (audience laughter)>>Tom: Next up. Noodling with spaghetti. This brand costs $1.79. What does Cassidy’s gluten free version check in at? $2.99. (buzz)>>Tom: Over a dollar more, and you get way less. We’ve got some Dempsters buns. The gluten-free version costs almost 50% more. (buzz)>>Tom: Looks like gluten free is getting clobbered. (cheering and applause)>>Tom: But, there’s still the bonus round. How ’bout some bread? This whole wheat loaf costs $2.99. Udi’s whole grain clocks in at $6.29! Jeepers Cass!>>Tom: Gluten free is still more expensive but for that? It’s got to be more nutritious. Or is it? Stay tuned! (cheering and applause)>>Erica: Later, we reveal the winner of Canada’s dumbest charge. And our competition makes waves in Ottawa.>>When will the government stop the nickel and diming of Canadians? (applause)>>Tom: What’s your gut reaction. Think gluten-free is better for you? Share you thoughts on Facebook and Twitter. (♪♪) (♪♪)>>Tom: We’re shopping for the truth behind the trend when it comes to gluten free products. Canadian comedian Darcy Michael has celiac disease, which means he’s gotta be gluten free. (laughter)>>Just the little things. The typical you want what you can’t have.>>Tom: And he’s not amused by the hype that leads to things like this.>>Tom: Seriously, gluten-free shampoo. The likelihood of anyone even with celiac needing something like this is next to none. Do you use this? Never mind. Darcy does like the idea of more gluten free options. Even though they can cost more ’cause companies say they’re complicated to make. As for the rest of us, what do we get out of it? Well, white bread isn’t seen as the healthiest of breads. So we take a loaf of it and this whole grain to test shoppers’ assumptions.>>Tom: So we’ve got your basic wonder bread and this is, this a gluten-free brand.>>If you’ve heard gluten-free is good, you’re going to buy this one.>>I guess I would say maybe this one.>>So between these two, I would likely choose that.>>Gluten-free stuff is generally more expensive, so… (laughter)>>If it’s more expensive it’s gotta be better for you.>>Yeah, maybe.>>Tom: Better for you? Hmmm. (♪♪)>>Tom: Welcome back to “The Price is What? We’re looking at gluten free, but thinking it can be gluten pricey. So how gluten healthy is it? Cass and Chris take it away! Remember that Udi’s whole grain bread? Compare it to this white bread. Brand for brand, Udi’s has more calories. More sodium. Way more fat. Double the sugar. And less of the good stuff, fibre! Next to this whole wheat version. Similar results, and even less fibre. So if you’re gonna go gluten-free, you might want to check the facts. Like this major fact. Cutting the stuff out means potentially losing lots of important nutrients from your diet. Yet new products hit the shelves every day. Promoted by the industry as a way to better health. Professor Timothy Caulfield says it’s really all about marketing.>>Just because it’s gluten-free for sure does not mean that it’s healthier.>>Tom: So are you saying then there are companies capitalizing on this murkiness to put products out there?>>The truth is so so simple. But the market doesn’t want it to be simple, right? They want the message to be–to be complicated. They want to sell these different kinds of, whether it’s a fitness routine, some kind of magic diet, or some kind of magic food product, they want to be able to market those things. They don’t want the simple truth which is, you know, eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Get your exercise, that’s about it, right? And you can’t sell a lot of products with that message. (♪♪)>>Tom: He’s right. But what about people without celiac disease who say they’re gluten intolerant? There’s no agreed upon diagnosis for that. Do any of your friends say they’re gluten-intolerant?>>Yeah. One of my closest friends Reva says she’s gluten-intolerant but from what i’ve seen that’s only 6 days a week because she refuses to give up Friday night pizza. (laughter)>>Tom: But this is serious business to companies like Udi’s. Last year, the American foodmaker commissioned something called “Canadian attitudes towards gluten free study”. It concluded we feel healthier, happier and more energetic reducing or cutting out gluten.>>Tom: People who go gluten free say they feel better, they have more energy. How do you explain that? How do you counter that argument?>>So yeah, the placebo effect is real and it’s powerful, we have to remember that, right? But I will say it’s very very difficult to make direct causal relationships between going gluten-free and–and feeling better and having more energy and there’s no evidence to support that conclusion. But that hasn’t stopped Udi’s from suggesting going gluten free could give you more energy! And that there’s no downside to trying a gluten free lifestyle (♪♪)>>Tom: I show Caulfield Udi’s website. >>There is a downside, right? ‘Cause you’re going to be paying more, right? Almost certainly. And it is challenging to eat the nutritionally balanced diet that they’re recommending, right? It becomes more difficult to do that. But wait, there’s more. Udi’s also suggests going gluten-free may improve symptoms of autism. In children. Any clear science on that? Not yet.>>It really frustrating that you have this kind of portrayal given the state of the science. Are they playing on parental concerns? Are they–are they playing on, you know, almost parental guilt, that they should be taking this kind of action to try to improve these conditions. Parents may be willing to try anything.>>Tom: We ask Udi’s for an interview, many times. They turn us down. (♪♪)>>Tom: So we head to the nation’s capital … (♪♪)>>Tom: where we hear Udi’s has a booth at this gluten free expo.>>This is cinnamon raisin actually. The place is filled with all sorts of gluten free goodies. But we’ve got an appetite for answers. And make a bee line to the Udi’s booth and a company rep. We’re doing a story on the gluten free trend, how people are going gluten free a lot — and we re just asking questions why people are going — especially if they don’t have celiac — why would people go gluten free?>>They just feel better.>>Tom: Yeah?>>A lot of people — an intolerance — if you feel tired, people with ADHD, if they go gluten free they find that their symptoms are a lot less.>>Tom: Really? Boy, first autism, now ADHD?>>Tom: So when people come up and ask you about the products, do you tell them about the ADHD and things like that?>>Yeah, if it comes up.>>Tom: Really, yeah? And you feel confident that’s the case?>>I mean it works for some people so you have to at least say if it works why not try it.>>Tom: We came looking for answers and leave with evidence that’s — once again — anecdotal.>>There is no evidence that going gluten-free itself is — is beneficial, right? So yeah, I mean there’s a downside to it in expense, in convenience, and trying to maintain that nutritious lifestyle. As for our shoppers, they’re starting to see past the glamour of gluten free.>>Tom: Most people don’t need a gluten-free diet.>>I agree.>>Tom: You believe that?>>I believe that.>>Tom: Will you keep buying gluten-free products, do you think?>>I’ve kind of edged away from it. I was actually going to look — I make my own muffins and whatnot.>>No, we can come over to your house. You can make me some gluten-free muffins. No one’s going to complain.>>Well, you’ll have to bring the recipe. (laughter)>>I got google. We’re covered.>>Tom: Take it from Darcy, unless you have a real health issue, don’t buy the gluten free hype. Just remember the truth behind the trend.>>Erica: Coming up.>>Tom: Cue drumroll.>>Erica: Envelope please. Who’s the winner of Canada’s dumbest charge? Up next.>>Tom: Fight back, be a Marketplace Watchdog. And help us sniff out scams. (♪♪)>>Erica: Time to meet up with the winner of Canada’s dumbest charge! (♪♪)>>Erica: After combing the country for your nominations.>>Do you think I have Canada’s dumbest charge? (roosters crowing)>>Erica: We narrowed it down to the five top contenders!!>>In front of a live audience in Toronto, five Canadians took the stage.>>I think I’ve got it in the bag. (cheering and applause)>>Tom: And duked it out to convince you to vote for their dumb charge.>>Canada’s dumbest charge is the fee that we pay for paper bills and bank statements.>>Jason Card had it with paying 2 bucks extra to get a paper bill and bank statement.>>Hey ho, hey ho, this paper charge has got to go!>>Bell charges $2.80 cents a month for touch tone service. (barking)>>Selma Schachner is calling out touch tone fees.>>You people are bandits. It’s a money grab because in this day and age you have no choice but to use touch tone service.>>Tom: Lisa Witts believes banks are hammering us with ATM fees!>>This is how I feel when I use another bank’s ATM. (ding)>>I feel like I’m getting dinged! >>Mike Anderson says airlines charging to select your seat should take off!>>When I see something that appears unfair, I like to stand up and make it right>>Tom: And Lauren Cooper is singing the blues about Ticketmaster fees!>>This big time company who has very little to no competition whatsoever can gouge you.>>Erica: After our five contenders made their case, you voted — in the tens of thousands! Vented to us on video.>>This touch tone fee is the dumbest charge.>>I went with Ticketmaster.>>Bell’s touch tone fee needs to go, good bye.>>I vote for ATM fees.>>Tom: Your dumb charges even trend on Twitter. (♪♪)>>Tom: We counted up your votes.>>Erica: Five Canadians,>>We’re going to get rid of this charge.>>Erica: Five fees.>>Tom: But only one can take the dubious title of –>>Canada’s dumbest charge! (cheering and applause)>>Erica: And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for!>>Tom: We’ve got a winner!>>Erica: Or should we say, loser?>>Tom: Cue the drum roll! (drum roll)>>Erica: Envelope please!>>Tom: Aha.>>Erica: Hmmm.>>Tom: Let’s get moving!>>Erica: Okay. (♪♪)>>Erica: I’m off to deliver the news to the winner. (bell ringing) (dog barking)>>Erica: Selma Schachner, you have Canada’s dumbest charge!>>Wow! That’s fabulous! Thank you. I’m flattered. I think there are a lot of people out there, who are fed up with Bell.>>Erica: Well, thousands and thousands of Canadians voted, and a lot of them were in your corner.>>Really?>>Erica: Selma’s inspiration: her mom.>>She’d be awe struck. She’d be very proud. Yeah, because she taught me about being principled. It’s time to listen to your customers.>>Erica: Well there’s no better way to give Bell that message than in person. We’re headed there now. Do ya wanna come with us?>>Do I? I wouldn’t miss it for the world!>>Erica: Grab your coat! Come on, buddy. We’re going on a trip! (barking)>>Erica: We hit the road and show up at a nearby corporate office.>>Erica: Ready to call them?>>As ready as I’ll ever be.>>Erica: They won’t return our calls, so we give it one more try, leave Bell a message.>>Erica: Canadians have voted and Canada’s dumbest charge is Bell’s touch tone fee. Really hoping that somebody could come out and speak with us. Let’s see if they call us back.>>Okay, great.>>Erica: We wait but no word.>>That’s a little disappointing. I would have hoped that they would have at least addressed this issue.>>Erica: But we’ve got a little message for Bell. We leave them a calling card>>Home of Canada’s dumbest charge: Bell touch tone fee, perfect gift for them.>>Erica: Bell won’t come on camera but in a statement tells us the touch tone fee isn’t going away.>>Sooner or later someone’s going to listen to us.>>Tom: We’re hoping Ottawa listens. We ask the Minister of Industry to talk. No luck but we catch the ear of the opposition consumer critic.>>Thank you Mr. Speaker. CBC Marketplace has identified the dumbest charges that Canadians consumers pay. ATM fees, pay to pay fees, airline fees, touch tones fees. When will the government stop the nickel and diming of Canadians?>>Hear, hear. (applause) (banging on tables)>>Mr. Speaker, Canadian consumers deserve access to credit on fair and transparent terms.>>Tom: Nothing on touch tone but new legislation could outlaw telecom paper bill fees.>>Erica: Meantime Selma’s got a message for Bell.>>The word is out there, that I have Canada’s dumbest charge. Or rather, that you have Canada’s dumbest charge.>>Tom : So touch tone is number one, and by far — it took 41 percent of the votes. Wanna know how the other dumb charges ranked? Coming in at #2, with 26 percent of the vote, paper fees. Number 3, ATM fees. Flying in 4th, airline seat selection. And landing in 5th place, Ticketmaster.>>Canada, don’t give up, fight for what is right.>>Tom: Take it from a winner and keep sending us those dumb charges.>>Erica: Next week on Marketplace.>>Tom: Who wants to play our game?>>Erica: Remedy or rip off!>>The price itself is a ripoff!>>Tom: We reveal how not to get fooled by a slick sales pitch.>>We’re both hungry and the tea is not holding up.>>Erica: How big names –>>I just told you, it works for me.>>Tom: And big marketing –>>On a monthly basis, every program is $394.99.>>Erica: Get you to spend big bucks!>>It was like an infomercial, buy, buy, buy. (♪♪)