5 Marketing Claims You Shouldn’t Fall For


I’ve said it before – never believe anything you read on the box, even if it sounds healthy. Especially if it sounds healthy. Here are five phrases you should be wary of:

Made with the goodness of wheat

This is a popular one, often found on packages of crackers, bread and pastas. Notice it doesn’t say what kind of wheat. That’s because it’s likely refined. So basically, this says, ‘Made with white flour.’ Like 90% of processed food products out there. Thanks for the heads up.

Made with whole wheat/whole grains

You may think this one is better – after all, it says whole wheat or whole grains. But it doesn’t say how much. So odds are, the first ingredient is still white flour. The manufacturer has likely just put in enough whole wheat/whole grains to colour the white flour brown and make you think you’re eating something heathy. Again, ignore.

Made with real fruits/vegetables

Again – nothing here about how much actual fruit/vegetable is in the product. Often it’s minimal (you can tell by how low the fruit/veggie is on the ingredient list.) And usually, there are enough other artificial ingredients to negate the goodness of the veggie in the first place. 

Reduced fat

This is a tricky one. Less fat is good, right? The answer is, it depends. All things being equal, yes, less fat is good. But remember: fat delivers flavour. If the manufacturers remove fat from a product, they still have to make it taste good – so they may add sugar or salt in to replace the lost flavour, and other chemicals to mimic the role of the fat. The best thing to do is to compare the original and reduced-fat versions and choose the one with the simplest ingredient list. 

Source of energy

This one kills me. Energy is measured in calories. All food is made up of calories. So absolutely all food is a source of energy. This is a claim food companies use when they really do not have anything healthy to tout about the product at all. In fact, it’s usually a sign of an unhealthy product – Nutella uses this in their advertising campaigns. (Sure, it gives your kids energy – in the form of a sugar high. They neglect to tell you that little Joey will be crashing by math class.)

Are there any marketing claims you’re not sure about? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to debunk them!

For more tips on how to read labels, see my post on Grocery Shopping Shortcuts or see whole list of posts on Navigating the Supermarket.

…and have you had your grocery list pimped yet? 

photo credit: partymonstrrrr via photopin cc


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