Packaging consists of the enticing marketing that is at the front of the label and then the reality of the contents on the back. The front label is meant to entice you, it is usually colourful and has a good looking picture of the item of choice which may actually really be the item or it could be a picture of how it is you want to feel or who you would like to be. Like for example, the Sealtest chocolate milk container I just happen to have at my fingertips right now, of a young skate board dude making a jump with a smile on his face. Also, found on the front of packaging are enticing words such as ‘good source’. On the front of the Sealtest chocolate milk is written ‘excellent source’. This wording means that the food item must provide between ten percent and 19 percent of the daily value for a given substance per serving. In the case of the Sealtest chocolate milk, it is listed as protein and vitamin D.
The word ‘light’ can be quite confusing. ‘Light’ is meant to mean that the food item contains 50% or less fat than another brand or as compared to the regular version of that food item made by the same manufacturer. ‘Light’ however, can also mean the colour of the food, for example, the colour of oil. ‘Fat free’ means that the food item has less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving with no added oil or fat. ‘Low fat’ on the other hand means that the food item has less than 3 grams of fat per serving. ‘Low calories’ means that the food item has less than 40 calories per serving.
‘Calorie free’ means that the food item contains fewer than 5 calories per serving. ‘Low in sodium’ means that the food item has no more than 140 mg per serving. ‘High fibre’ means the food item contains at least 5 grams of fibre per serving. ‘Lean’ means that the meat product contains less than 95mg of cholesterol, 10 grams of fat, and 4.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams of any kind of meat product, including poultry and seafood. The words ‘extra lean’ means that the meat product contains the same mg of cholesterol but only 5 grams of fat and 2 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams.
The way in which it used to be before 1994 was that consumers had to rely on the products imagery, wording, and marketing. Consumers started to become frustrated because in the vast array of the manufactured food products people had no idea what their food contained! Especially for people who had allergies, as manufacturers didn't need to list what ingredients were contained in the food product, and there was no way to understand the nutritional value of what those ingredients meant.
As you can see by our list of wording it is really hard to know exactly what the wording means unless you know what the serving size actually is. People have a tendency to think that the food product has been packaged as a serving size. Unless you are able to understand that you need to flip the front of the package over to the back of the package and read the food label, you might get hooked in by an ingredient or a term on the front label and make a serious mistake in food selection, without even realizing that you have just been confused by a marketing strategy. You might be thinking that you are making a healthful food choice when really, you are not.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.