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These Food Labelling Might Not Mean What You Think They Mean.

Food labels such as organic, natural, free rage are important attribute many consumers take into consideration when making a purchasing decision on food products. Whilst consumers are willing to pay more for food product labeled natural it has been proven that reliance on that assumption could be misguided. Natural food labelling is subjected to the definition given by the policymakers. Knowing that the consumers will always prefer healthy food product it has become a practice of food industries to label their product in a way that portrays it as healthy. This causes consumers to overestimate the healthfulness of the food product even while a product with no such claim could be healthier. However, in recent times food agencies are beginning to take this serious by upgrading and mandating food manufacturers to provide more information on the labels on their package. This will help consumers make better choices. Let’s look at some food product and how they match their labeling.

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1. Egg product

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Cage production remains the norm in most western countries. In cage system, the bird is kept in a group with only access to water, feed and little room to move and stretch. The birds are unable to engage in instinctual behavior such as scratching and pecking. These practices have been heavily condemned by animal rights activist. There has been the implementation of several policies to address this form of animal cruelty especially with the introduction of free range egg production. This policy has partly contributed to the growth of the free-range eggs. However, this growth has also created the confusion over the true meaning of free-range and cage-free eggs. There are many opinions about the amount of space that is needed to demonstrate that a bird is a free range. Most commercial free-range birds live in a flock of 9 birds per square meters indoors and many have argued that this is not free range. There are farms who are not just playing with words but raising birds in the best condition. The handsome brook farm is one of such farm with over 250 networks of farms. Their business model focuses on providing pastured raised eggs to a bigger network of customers. They have been able to achieve this by providing at least 108 square feet per bird on rotated pastures.

2. Natural food product


It doesn't take long to find a natural food product on the grocery shelf nowadays. Statistics show that 51% of American search for natural food products. This is partly because a natural food product is synonymous with healthy eating. Not until 2015, the food and drug administration (FDA) defined “natural” as food product without synthetic or artificial ingredient. In Nov 2015, the FDA promoted the introduction of the Food Labeling Modernization Act as a way to standardized labeling on the food package. This compels companies to use labels with full ingredient list without additives, preservative and synthetic ingredients. So when next you visit the store to buy groceries, don’t just pick the product because it is labeled natural, take time to go through the ingredients listed on the label.

3. Organic food product


The organic food product is one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the US and Western World. It is grown without synthetic chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides or growth hormones. Despite the benefits of using organic food product consumers are still skeptical because of the high price, insufficient information and lack of trust in the organic food. Lastly, consumers are not well informed about the organic labels which are currently creating a gap between the manufacturers and consumers. However, for countries like the UK and US, a single logo and standard have been created specifically for organic products which are a cost-effective means for helping customers to differentiate organic food product.

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