The Washington Post: Savvier Shoppers See Through Misleading Food Labels. Here’s How.

By Cara Rosenbloom –

In the quest for health, many of us search for products that have an edge over their competition. If something is proclaimed to be “organic” or “natural,” we often think it’s healthier for us. Marketers hope these on-pack words will influence our buying decisions.

Marketing can be misleading. Product packages can bear overinflated claims about health benefits to make foods sound more nutritious than they are. For years, consumers falsely believed claims like “natural” and “no sugar added” meant a product was better for their health, but this is beginning to change. Shoppers are becoming savvier and are seeing right through marketing gimmicks like these:

Food labeled as “natural:” Market research company The Hartman Group says words like “natural” and “clean” on food packages are increasingly being seen as “pretentious and neurotic” and will be used less often by food manufacturers. Consumers are realizing “natural” doesn’t mean very much. Technically, products can be loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, but since those are made from sugar cane, beets or corn (all plants), they are still “natural.”

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