Every fashionista follows a cardinal rule: Look at the label. The little tag may be understated, but it represents big concepts—quality, style, status. Most importantly, it assures shoppers that the clothing they’re shelling out hundreds of bucks for is the real thing—not a cheap knockoff.
Consumers follow the same principle with the foods they decide to put into their shopping carts. Health-conscious folks pick up cereals because they boast brightly colored labels reading “made with whole grains” and “contains whole wheat.” Moms select certain snacks because they’re “all-natural.” And environmentalists stock up on egg cartons dotted with “cage-free” stickers. Shoppers buy these products over others and are even willing to pay a premium because they want their foods to be nutritious and earth-friendly. If the labels make these claims, they must be true. Right? Wrong. Manufacturers spend billions of dollars each year on deceptive marketing tactics to lure in unsuspecting shoppers. Part of that strategy includes using labels [PDF] that overstate foods’ nutritional content or production methods. Worse yet, many of these labels and misleading phrases aren’t even regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Intentionally misleading customers is perfectly legal, and it’s happening throughout supermarket aisles near you. Arming yourself with information is the best way to navigate these deceptive food labels. Here's our guide to three misleading labels and how you can make sure you’re spending money on the right foods:
\n Ben and Jerry's aren't the only ones guilty of using the vague word "natural." Maybe because it means everything—and nothing—at the same time.
Holy god, do I love Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I’m addicted to Mint Chocolate Cookie. I’m also a fan of Milk and Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Basically, my four food groups are Ben, Jerry, ice cream, and cookies.