Do you sometimes feel confused walking around the supermarket?
5 minutes wondering up and down the aisles can leave even the most informed shopper in a puzzled haze!
Before you know it, your head is swimming with a baffled mix of health claims, nutritional info, and outlandish slogans.
‘Healthy eating’ has certainly become a catch phrase in marketing, and as long as the public wants to eat healthy, manufacturers will continue to pander to their wishes.
So, it’s obvious an effective advertising campaign (in manufacturers eyes at least) would have their product aligned with healthy eating.
Let’s take a look at some of the slogans you need to be on the lookout for:
#1 ‘Made with 100% fruit juice’
This slogan is a tricky one.
The statement says ‘made with’, which basically means it contains 100% fruit juice. This statement is not claiming to be ‘100 percent fruit juice’.
So, would one tablespoon of fruit juice still make this a truthful statement?
Yes. But, remember this product would also have other ingredients, such as water and sugar, and more accurately it should be called a ‘drink.’
#2 ‘Made without preservatives’
When I heard this pitch on a Coca Cola commercial I had to laugh out loud. Surely, we’re not to believe soda pop is healthy?
Soft drinks are made with phosphoric acid (therefore preservatives aren’t needed), and this highly acidic base causes a physiological response – the body tries it’s best to maintain a pH balance, so the acid must be neutralized.
It’s good to remind ourselves that just because a product states ‘no preservatives,’ this doesn’t warrant a healthy eating crown.
#3 ‘No artificial colors or flavors’
This is good, just make sure this isn’t the only good thing you can say about the product.
An example would be flour, where the color is stripped to make it white, but you also lose the nutrients and fibre in the process.
#4 ‘No trans fat’
At first glance this looks good. But, check the label to be sure that hydrogenated oil wasn’t used.
Trans fat is a by product of the hydrogenation process. To remove it does not then make the oil healthy, however it wouldn’t be quite as harmful.
#5 ‘No sugar added’
Please, when you see this on a label, look further.
Fruit juice can be used to sweeten. But, you don’t want to see artificial sweeteners on the nutrition label.
#6 ‘Flavor enhanced’
When you see this on a label try asking yourself, “What was used to make this happen?”
MSG is a flavor enhancer that is very common in processed foods, and in restaurants.
Remember, wholesome foods do not need to be flavor enhanced.
#7 ‘Fortified with…’
This isn’t something new, products have been fortified for years now.
For example, iodine is added to salt, vitamins are added to flour and boxed cereals, and now you can even get fortified water.
However, this practice has spread to be more of an advertising gimmick than healthy eating.
These products don’t use natural source vitamins, that would be cost prohibitive. As always, the best way to get your nutrients is through a balanced diet.
#8 ‘Enhanced with…’
This is replacing nutrients that have been lost during processing, although trace nutrients will not be replaced.
This is a sign that you could make the product healthier yourself.
#9 ‘Made with whole wheat’
100% whole wheat is your preferred wheat choice. However, the statement doesn’t claim to be 100% – ask yourself, “What other ingredients have been used?”
Check the label to make sure flour is not listed. If it is, you’re not getting the value of a 100% whole wheat product.
#10 ‘Kid approved’
Great, kids like it! Now, read the label.
My kids would have eaten almost anything that was fun and sweet. Do the ingredients pass your scrutiny?
Making sure you eat healthy food definitely requires a bit of investigation. I hope I have provided you the information needed to decipher the slogans.
What do you think about nutrition labeling? Is it confusing? What would make labeling less confusing for you?