Consumers are confused. So many claims abound on food
products that knowing what is good, better or indifferent is a complex task.
And when shopping, time is of essence. Analysing each product, the claims it
makes and the ingredient list is taxing. So a short cut like traffic lights
would have been most welcome.
There are two key problems with food labelling for
consumers, knowing whether to trust them and understanding what they mean.
In a recent group discussion one woman was pretty adamant and wanted everyone to know about it. She insisted, at some length, that “low fat” labels are a marketing ploy which she for one certainly does not fall for. It’s for gullible consumers and she won’t be taken in by it. Rather she reads ingredients lists and makes up her own mind.
I gave the topic some space and returned to it later. It was time to challenge her. “If I were to look through your cupboards and fridge,” I asked, “would it be fair to say I would find no products labelled ‘low fat’?”
Not quite. There was low fat yogurt and cheese and ice cream and more. Intellectually she knew to challenge such claims, but emotionally she chose to believe them.