According to recent research carried out by Data Label almost 1/3rd of people do not trust the information provided on the labels of pre-packaged food.
But why don’t people trust food labeling? What is there not to trust?
Well, if you remember the horse meat scandal of 2013 apparently there’s quite a lot! Thankfully moments like that are few and far between.
In my opinion the bigger issue is not ‘wrong’ labeling, but food labeling of a misleading nature…
The packaging our food comes in is another, insidious, form of advertising. Food producers want us to want their food – even if that means giving us the wrong impression of their product. A prime example of this was Tesco’s “Willow Farm” chicken. The label and name conjured up images of contented hens seeing out their days basking in sunshine at a small farm. In fact, as Tesco explained ‘There are 2 suppliers of Willow Farm with 42 farms across the South-West & NI growing these birds’. Willow farm does not exist. And the term ‘growing’ couldn’t be more apt for these barn reared chucks. A lesson in reading the label carefully if ever there was one.
If a product doesn’t scream about being free-range, organic or otherwise that’s because it isn’t.
It is hard to trust food labels when they are often trying to trick us into believing that the food that we are buying is more nutritious, ethical and wholesome than it really is.
When I approached my friends & colleagues to ask them about food labelling the overwhelming bugbear was the low fat claims made on many foods.
Low fat doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Low fat often means the food is stuffed full of sugar or sweeteners. It’s especially hard to avoid added sugar when it appears because of the range of names it appears as and the lack of information about what kind of sugar is contained. Added and natural sugars are very different things but if you read the nutritional information alone you can’t tell how much of each there is because they are all lumped in together. How is a lassie to know what the right choice is without deciphering that lengthy, and often confusing, ingredients list?!
Really, the only way that you can guarantee that the labels on your food will be easy to understand is to buy fresh produce. You know the kind I mean, the kind that mostly comes without a label, and you can tell exactly what it is just by looking at it!
Hopefully this distrust of labels will encourage more people to shop locally, from people they know and trust; shunning misleading labels and embracing less packaging!
I’d love to hear your views on food labeling. Do you find them easy to decipher? Or all a bit puzzling? Or maybe you just dont trust them at all?!