Food Packaging and Labels: Your Guide to Purchasing Decisions

Consumers vary in their purchasing criteria. Some opt to look at the food packaging, while others evaluate the ingredients and other details on the product label. Many consumers fall into the category of picking foods depending on the attraction and temptation, only to find out that they’ve made a less valuable purchase.

Woman checking product label in a supermarket | Consolidated Strategy Group

How to Make the Right Purchase Decision

To become an educated consumer, the key is to turn to both food packaging and label. Carefully scrutinize these two, and you will surely make the right choice. Here’s your guide:

  1. Read the product label
    Food labels provide information about the ingredients and substances in the product; they make it easy for consumers to compare one food item from another. Learning how to read and understand food labels will help you make informed choices.
  2. Understand the food product label
    There are three key points that you need to assess when it comes to product labels:

    1. List of ingredients – take note that ingredients are listed in order of quantity; so if you want to know what makes up most of your favorite drink, then head on to the list of ingredients.
    2. Nutritional facts – this table provides information for a single serving of a food product.
    3. Manufacturer’s nutritional claims – claims on packaged foods are protected by law. These are particular claims that state or suggest that food has beneficial nutritional properties including but not limited to energy value, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, among others.
  3. Look out for misleading food labels
    Food packaging may be misleading. With so many products out on the shelves, it is crucial that you carefully assess the products you purchase. Do not fall for the following words/phrases that have no real meanings.

    1. Whole Grain – just because it says in the packaging that the bread of your choice is made with whole grains, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is devoid of any processed flour
    2. Sugar-Free – this typically indicates the presence of an artificial sweetener which is far worse than refined sugar
    3. Natural – this does not mean healthy, and natural flavors contain a wide range of ingredients that you would not want to ingest
    4. Fresh – this may not always mean what you think. “Fresh” products as endorsed in the market typically undergo unappealing processes, such as waxing or coating; definitely not your idea of “fresh.”
  4. Choose environmentally-friendly food packaging
    Packaging has created a rubbish problem that the future generation will have to endure if manufacturers do not develop environmentally-friendly packaging. Be part of the solid waste reduction. Here are some common packaging options ranked from the worst offenders up to greener options.

    1. Styrofoam cups
    2. Snack bags
    3. Bottled water
    4. Glass
    5. None at all (reusable containers that belong in your household)
  5. Choose tamper resistance packaging
    Tamper resistant designs ensure food safety. This is important for food and beverage. It ensures you that the product you bought is completely safe and of the highest standard.

Keep these tips in mind when purchasing food products. Make the right decision and contribute to solid waste reduction!

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