A survey done in 2012 conducted by the International Food Information Council reported that the majority of participants reported that they are trying to improve at least one aspect of their eating habits. Food manufacturers have responded to increased consumer demand for more nutritious options by increasing their nutrition marketing strategies. Rather than reformulating their food to increase nutritional value, many companies are dropping eye-catching marketing phrases on the front of their packaging instead. Unfortunately, for consumers just because we are normally drawn to eye-catching phrases or colors not all of what the product is promoting or stating is true. Next time you go grocery shopping look for these everyday products and make sure you’re getting the best nutritional value for you and your family.
Food manufacturers are labeling their bread as “wheat bread,” with the increased awareness of health benefits consuming whole grains today. Make sure the label reads “WHOLE WHEAT” or “100% WHOLE WHEAT.” These words are the very important key components to ensure that the loaf is entirely WHOLE. “Refined grains have become a staple in American diet because food manufacturers are able to remove the nutrient-dense, exterior layers of wheat to increase shelf-life and improve texture. When the bran and the germ are stripped from the wheat kernel, nutrients like fiber, protein, and B vitamins are also removed. The end result is white or wheat bread that is made up of starch and chemically “enriched” nutrients that are added back at the end of processing.”
Egg manufacturers want you to believe that their “cage-free eggs” are of higher nutritional value than other conventional eggs. The word “cage-free” indicates that the hens are able to roam freely in the barn, building, or indoor space with unlimited access to food and fresh water. However, cage-free does not specify if the manufacturer bought eggs from hens who were confined to their cage. These hens could have been raised in stressful, overcrowded environments, without access to outdoors. Also stating the label “cage-free” on the packaging does not insinuate that the nutritional quality is better than standard eggs.
Often companies will include claims such as “made with natural sugar” or “contains all natural ingredients” on the front of the package. According to a new Consumer Reports survey of 1,000 people, nearly 60% look for the term “natural” when they go shopping. “All natural” has proved to be one of the most deceptive claims used by food manufacturers. The USDA defines the term natural for meats and poultry as a product containing no artificial ingredient, or added color and is minimally processed. Look at the ingredients listed rather than looking for the word “natural.” One helpful fact I follow, is if under the ingredients the first 5 ingredients have words I can’t pronounce or define myself, I’ll pass. If I don’t know what it is then why would I choose to put it in my body?
The first trend of “make with real fruit” or “made with whole fruit,” started in the actual grocery aisles themselves with cereals, energy bars, candy, juice boxes, and other fruit snacks. It was to target the parents for an easy sell to letting them think what they were buying was better for their kids than buying sugary candy. However, just because the box claims it’s “made with real fruit” real fruit might not even be included in the ingredients. More often than not, the “fruit” that companies are referring to is a concentrate, puree, powder, or sweetened form.
What manufacturers want you to believe is that if the word “reduced” is in front of the more harmful words like: sodium, sugar, fat, or saturated fat, it’s better for you. Just because the word “reduced” is on the packaging, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.Reduced does blatantly suggest it is lower than the other types of brands on that shelf.For a food to claim to be “reduced-calories,” it must contain 25% fewer calories per serving size, compared to a reference food. Since the reference food could be high in calorie, reducing the calorie content by 25% may not make the product “low calorie.” Same goes for fat, sugar, and sodium content.