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The Buzz About Trendy Food Label Marketing

The Buzz About Trendy Food Label Marketing

Most food manufacturers have similar goals – sell as much product to consumers as possible. One way for a food manufacturer to stand out from the crowd is to use clever buzz words. If you’ve ever wondered what some of those buzz words meant, you’ve come to the right place.

 

“Natural”

There is no official definition for the use of “natural” on food labels issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nevertheless, it seems wherever you look in the grocery store you’ll find “natural” claims have become very popular for certain foods.

The FDA has coined the word ‘natural’ to suggest nothing artificial or synthetic (including color additives) has been included in, or added to, a food that would not usually be found in that food. However, this policy doesn’t apply to food production practices, such as the use of pesticides.

The USDA allows the use of the term “natural” to be used in meat and poultry labeling on products that are processed without artificial ingredients or added color. The product can only be minimally processed and the label has to explain the use of the term such as “no added coloring.”

 

“Processed” vs “Unprocessed”

Many people believe “processed” means packaged foods with loads of calories and additives, and “unprocessed” are foods that are not canned, frozen or packaged. According to the USDA, “processed” foods have undergone a “change of character.” For example, raw nuts (unprocessed) vs. roasted nuts (processed), a whole piece of fruit (unprocessed) vs. cut and peeled fruit (processed). Therefore, not all “processed” foods are unhealthy.

 

“Local”

The local food movement suggests buying food that is grown close to the area where you live. This movement is connected to the ideology of sustaining the environment by supporting the local economy. However, the term “local” can have an assortment of meanings depending whom you ask.

 

“Whole”

The definition of whole foods has not been regulated yet. “Whole foods” generally refer to foods that are not processed nor any added ingredients. Normally the phrase “whole foods” includes fresh produce, dairy, whole grains, meat and fish.

 

“Organic”

The term “organic” does have particular standards and a legal definition. As defined by the USDA, organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are not given antibiotics. Organic plant foods are produced without using most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients. These farms are inspected by the government to ensure all criteria are met. In addition to organic farming, there are USDA standards for organic handling and processing.

Not all buzz words are the same- some are recognized by the FDA or the UDSA and some were coined by clever marketing specialists. Make sure to bookmark this article for the next time you find yourself reading a label in the grocery store aisle.

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