When it comes to food manufacturing, processes that were once secretive are now becoming more transparent as savvy modern consumers demand to know what’s in their food. As organic food goes mainstream, high fructose corn syrup becomes public enemy number one, and average Americans try to eat healthier diets, manufacturers are racing to keep up with changing tastes and buying preferences.
But how much do you really know about what you’re eating? Unless you live on a farm and grow everything yourself, the answer is probably, “Not too much.” If you’re like 83% of shoppers who buy their food products at the grocery store, read on to find out a few of the most shocking secrets food manufacturers won’t tell you.
1. “All natural” means absolutely nothing
Pick up a box of granola bars or even a package of cookies and you’re likely to see the words “natural flavors” emblazoned across the box. But be careful — this is nothing but a marketing ploy.
The term “organic” is highly regulated and cannot be used without adhering to a whole bunch of strict standards. Using the word “natural,” on the other hand, is a lot hazier. It’s so poorly regulated that manufacturers use it even when their products are full of artificial ingredients (in addition to those natural ones they advertise, which may be nothing more than salt and sugar). Look past this misleading label and read all the ingredients before you purchase.