Food Labelling – written by MWFITNESS Personal Trainer Steph Helps

With many food products selling on the shelves it’s hard for each manufacturer to have their product stand out from the rest. Food labelling is a way they can advertise their products to consumers in a supermarket to attract the consumer.

The use of terms in food marketing can be a little misleading. Many manufacturers do not use the words as they are supposed to be used. This is to lure the consumer in to purchasing the product. Cardboard and plastic packaging serves as mini adverts to the consumer. The terms used on these ‘adverts’ needs to make food as appealing as possible in order to generate sales. I have broken down each food terminology for a clear understanding:

Authentic – The food remains unchanged and originates from the area implied by its name.

Traditional / original – a method of preparation that has remained the same for a long period of time

Farmhouse – Should indicate that it was produced on a farm (other than bread)

Pure – Single ingredient product or to highlight the quality of that product used in that food is fresh – food is sold a short time after harvest.

Homemade – Made in the home or of domestic manufacture

Natural – Food that is naturally grown or produced – it should not be man made. The consumer is very health conscious, so manufacturers have become very health conscious with their packaging. Below are some examples which are commonly advertised on food products.

  • Low calorie
  • Reduced fat
  • Reduced salt
  • Increased fibre/high fibre

We need to increase our awareness to ensure we are purchasing foods that are using their terminology correctly.

  • Light, low, reduced or high – has no legal definition except that it cannot be misleading.
  • Reduced or low fat – has a legal requirement to be 25% lower in fat than the original product. With a reduction in fat there should be reduction in calories but this is often not the case, the loss of flavour from fat reduction will lead to sugars or salts being added back in to get the flavour back.
  • Low Calorie – required to have fewer calories than the original production but no set stipulation to how much lower it can be. Check out the original product so you know how much lower it is so you are more informed.
  • Sugar Free –/no added sugar – cannot be misleading but manufacturers get around it by adding sweeteners or sugar alternatives – look at the ingredients list to see what has been added instead of sugar because sometimes that’s worse than having sugar in it. These are just small things to look out for on your next shop!