As consumers we have a lot of information available to us about the food we eat and the products we purchase, but with so much information out there it can be difficult to differentiate between factual information and misleading claims.
The Food Label
As a food manufacturer, it is easier for us to spot a misleading claim, but for consumers it may not be as straightforward. The weekly food shop can be a tiring process as it is without the added stress of trying to understand the entire food label. Misleading information makes it even more difficult to determine whether a product is healthy or unhealthy.
Regulations are in place to ensure that manufacturers do not advertise false claims on their packaging, but it does not stop them from deceiving consumers. As the front of a food label is typically the first place consumers will look, it is no surprise that this is where you will find the majority of the misleading claims. The back of the food label is the best place to start as this is where manufacturers must have accurate information.
The Ingredient List
The ingredients list allows you to see what ingredients make up the product, with the food appearing from highest to lowest quantity. Have a quick scan of this list and ensure that the first 3 or 4 ingredients make up the majority of the food product itself. Take for example our Baked Salmon with Broccoli and Brown Rice, the three main ingredients of the dish are salmon, brown rice and broccoli and this is reflected in the ingredients list below.
Our ingredient list is located at the back of our sleeves and also in the 'Ingredients & Allergens' section for all of our products on our website.
What to Look Out For
More often than not the misleading claims appear at the front of the product packaging. These claims may include terms such as;
- Low Salt
- Sugar- free or Zero Sugar
If you see one of these claims on the front, be sure to check the ingredient list at the back! Take a ‘Low-fat’ claim as an example, when fat is reduced from a product, it is not unusual for the sugar content to increase. A quick look at the the ingredients list will highlight this to you.
It’s the same with ‘zero sugar’ fizzy drinks. Yes, the sugar itself has been taken out but this may have been replaced with artificial sweeteners and additives. These sweeteners are added to give extra sweetness to a product without the extra calories, allowing manufacturers to use the ‘zero sugar’ claim. However, this is something to bear in mind as a consumer because yes, there is zero natural sugar but just note that it may have been replaced with artificial sweeteners.
Check the Serving Size & Calories
Calories and serving size go hand in hand. This is often an area where consumers can get caught out. The calories for a product along with the nutritionals can be displayed for various serving sizes. Always be aware of the proportion the calories are presented in. It may appear as per 100g when the product itself is 500g or per serving with one serving only being 20g. This can trick a consumer into thinking that the product has less calories than it does.
What we do to help
Food labels are there to help us and should be clear and informative. The GourmetFuel sleeves are in line with regulations to ensure that you as a consumer are provided with accurate, clear and reliable information and claims. We aim to provide you with as much nutritional information as possible so that you are fully informed about the nutritional and health benefits of our meals.