May 4, 2010

Food Labels: What we do and not read?

Today I came across a LinkedIn question posted by a user asking, ' Would warning labels on food make people eat better?' This was very interesting to me, as I wonder how many us read the nutrition facts table on the food packaging when we buy a product. Are we swayed by the claims which are made on the front of the pack? These package designs and writings are usually not approved by the government, and we as buyers usually accept the first thing which is staring at us, rather than making the effort to read the detailed ingredients and nutritional information.

Marketing products, coming up with new and innovative techniques, has been seen to be what every FMCG is looking to do. We find every product has a tag line which will vouch for taste, health or an international flavour. And these being in eye catching lovely colours do not make things any easier.

A new entrant in the vocabulary of shoppers is trans fat. Many products claim to be 0 % trans fat, but do they mention the saturated and unsaturated fats which are there in their products, and that too in substantial quantities. They conveniently put trans fat out there and claim it to be a dirt product.

Now the question is whether you will blame them, or would you blame yourself for not knowing what goes into your gut? 


  1. i just check about the calorie contents and expiry i dont give much importance.

    so long one eats in moderation, no problem..

    even good food, if i overeat it will cause problems...

  2. We Indians are foodies and nothing stops me from having a go when paani puri or samosas are at arm's reach. trans fat or saturated fat it is all bad for the system. But I suppose one can indulge once in a way. i don't check labels but I do restrict myself in other ways.

  3. @ sunder & Hip Grandma: I agree... moderation is the key.

    But, there are many a times very misleading facts highlighted on the front cover... like vitamin fortified, wherein it means there is some vitamin content. I feel it certainly does not qualify to be highlighted like it is of the greatest value in the product if doesnt exist more than a particular percentage in it...

  4. stumbled upon via Mohan's blog. Interesting topic I thought. Two things are important for me: one is the brand, second is the calorie/fat content in it. I do make sure that I try to get as much info abt the product from the cover before buying.

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  6. Good food for thought ;)
    Well, it doesn't really matter what the tag line is at least for me. It is very much required to think well before buying any product that has creamy punch lines... When the product isn't good, people tend to sell with captive tags. Consumer be aware!!!

  7. You are right . We Indians generally don't care what exactly are the ingredients .

    But in all developed nations , this information carry a lot of importance.

    Hope we all take it more seriously and eat things which are good for our health.

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  8. Great questions!

    I just watched Food, Inc. last week and it has changed the way I view the food industry. I highly recommend watching it!


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