HOW FOOD TRANSPARENCY CAN HELP YOU MAKE HEALTHIER CHOICES
We’ve all been there: You know you want to make healthier choices about the food you are buying and what you and your family are eating, but you are not sure where to start. Whether you’re doing it to lose weight or just feel like a healthier version of yourself, food transparency is a great place to begin.
Food transparency and accountability is a recent movement that has consumers asking for - and getting - accurate information about the ingredients in the foods and supplements they select. Food companies are learning that being transparent with shoppers also involves traceability, which is spelling out how and where something is made.
As consumers trying to pick the healthiest items, food transparency makes it easier for us to pay attention to what is in our food. Understanding what is in each dish we order in a restaurant, or what we are buying at the grocery store, can help us make more informed decisions about what we are eating.
In that sense, making healthy choices has never been so easy. To help you get a feel for this, let’s look at some of the best ways you can benefit from food transparency. As part of their effort to create traceability, food brands are making some common claims on their labels and websites. We’ll go through what these mean, and how they can help you make more educated decisions for yourself and your family.
When buying fresh produce or packaged foods, the label is often your first brush with food transparency and accountability. Labels will tell you if a food is certified organic or Non-GMO, and soon will be required to say whether it contains GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.
Labels have a Nutrition Facts box on the back, which gives you detailed information on serving sizes, and the amount of fat, calories and sodium in each serving. When looking at the ingredients list, focus on the first few ingredients, as they make up most of the food product. Also be alert for artificials sweeteners, colors and preservatives – added ingredients you want to avoid if you are trying to make healthy choices.
As the clean eating trend has gained popularity, more restaurants and food makers are capitalizing on people’s desire to center most of their eating around whole, nutritious foods while avoiding processed foods and artificial sweeteners. To cater to them, eateries like Panera and Chipotle have marketed themselves as places where it’s easy to order off their menu if you’re eating clean. Other restaurants will mark certain menu items as “clean” to make the choices clear. Food makers, too, are joining in and labeling some packed foods as “clean” in larger text to help consumers make easier, healthier choices.
Sustainable sourcing and food traceability
More and more, you might see foods or supplements labeled as “sustainably sourced.” That’s a sign the farmers producing the ingredients use more sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices, which are better for the planet. You’ve also likely seen details on a label or company’s website that help you understand a food item’s traceability – where all its ingredients come from. As consumers, that information is important because it makes us feel safe and be confident about what we’re buying for ourselves and our families.
The team behind Nutrilite supplements has decades of practice when it comes to providing consumers traceability. They offer their customers peace of mind by keeping a wealth of carefully-recorded information to explain every step of growing, harvesting and processing for each ingredient used to make their supplements – from who sowed the seeds on which farm, to when the plants were picked.
In an era when global food safety continues to be a big concern, Nutrilite says its customers can feel confident knowing traceability has been a priority since the brand was founded more than 80 years ago on a single farm. Nowadays, supplement ingredients are double and triple-checked for quality when they arrive for processing, whether they are coming from Nutrilite’s own organic farms or supplier farms.
Humane farming practices
Whether you are picking up a carton of eggs, a gallon of milk or selecting a cut of meat, many people want to make sure any animal product they are buying has humane farming practices behind it. Sometimes you may see a “Humanely Farmed” label on products, a claim typically certified by a third-party organization. Other labels to look for if you’re trying to make ethical choices are “Raised Without Antibiotics” and “Pasture-Raised,” or, when it comes to eggs, “Free Range,” which means the animals were raised with room to move around.
Look for these words when you’re trying to buy ingredients that are pretty close to their natural state. Many people are trying to avoid highly-processed foods with refined grains, artificial sweeteners and chemical preservatives. They want whole foods, or at least foods that haven’t been altered too much. For them, this is a good label to look for. Examples of foods that have been minimally processed include a bag of pre-cut carrots or a container of roasted almonds.
Now that you know what to look for as you shop, you’ll find that food traceability and supply chain transparency are two things that make it even easier for you to make healthy choices. You can be confident that you’re picking food that is safe, good for you and good for the environment.
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