If you’ve ever picked up a purportedly “healthy” food and tried to read the label, you probably found yourself face to face with a bewildering array of logos, certifications, and nutritional claims. What do they all really mean?
Today I’m going to start a recurring series of posts designed to demystify food labels and help you sort through the labyrinthine jungle of marketing, buzz words, and verbal gymnastics of food labeling laws.
We’re going to start with a term that is exceptionally common… and completely meaningless: All Natural.
“All Natural” is an unregulated term. That means pretty much any company or producer can slap it onto any product they want without proof, penalty, rhyme or reason!
In theory, “all natural” should represent middle-ground products that fall somewhere between conventionally generated products (i.e. highly processed/ produced with chemicals, pesticides, etc.) and the much higher standards represented by certified organic options. In some cases, foods with this label may actually be (at least slightly) less processed than the industry standard, in which case it is usually qualified by other terms also splashed across the label like “no antibiotics”. The “all natural” label in and of itself, however, it nothing more than a useless marketing gimmick.
So there you go – lesson one in being a savvy label reader!
Tell me: What logos/certifications would you most like to see show up in future posts of this series?