Recently in one of my classes, we’ve been discussing the factors that affect our food choices. Research shows that the primary determinants of food choice for most people are taste, convenience and cost. Makes sense to me. We choose certain foods because they taste good, they’re convenient, and they’re affordable.
Some of us, though, would argue that isn’t the case. Some of us at least try to choose foods because we know they’re good for us (I don’t actually like raw broccoli all that much), or because we know that processed/packaged foods are filled with preservatives and fillers, oftentimes not even resembling real food by the time it’s on the shelf. I remember reading a book by Michael Pollin,In Defense of Food, where he provided some basic food rules. One of them that I’ve never forgotten was, “If your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, you probably shouldn’t eat it.”
According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average grocery store contains over 38,000 items. So, it’s no wonder we as consumers are confused about what is really “good for us.” What does “good for us” even really mean? Low calorie? Low fat? Low carb? High fiber? Low sodium? High protein? Natural? Organic? How do we even begin to sort through this?
Some would say that the food label/ingredients list is the place to go to find out what to buy. But how many of us meticulously examine every label on every product we buy?How many of us even know what we’re looking for when we read the label?
So, I recently came across a short article in the New York Times about a new type of food label. I’d encourage you to check out this idea, and more importantly, I’d encourage you to let us know what components of this proposed label you’d most like to see (or not see).
Later this week we’ll post a poll on our Facebook page about the new label, so check out the article and let us know what you think!