Taking time to observe the labels of the foods I eat really does make me realize the tricks that companies use to make me buy their food. This year, I have a meal plan so I typically do not buy food. If I do buy food, I usually go to Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I’m not sure the reasoning behind it, but I seem to trust Trader Joe’s more than, say, Gristedes or Fairway. They have higher quality foods, in my opinion, and more exotic options. Whole Foods, also, is more trustworthy because they have an entire list of banned ingredients and they set high standards for their foods. Whether or not this matters, I am not really sure….
Along with most others in the class, I also noticed the extensive use of green in the labels to convey a sense of nature and purity. Companies label their products as “All Natural,” but this term means absolutely nothing. It is just a gimmick to sell. “USDA Organic” has real standards behind it, but it does not necessarily mean that the food is healthy, which I think is a common misconception.
I try my hardest not to buy processed foods. At home, this was significantly easier because I would buy fresh ingredients and cook. Here in NYC, I haven’t really been able to cook, though, so I have been buying mostly frozen foods. But I am very cognizant of the processed foods I eat. I won’t eat anything with MSGs, I avoid all soda, chips, and corn syrup, and I don’t eat meat (only because I was raised in a Kosher household and there really isn’t Kosher meat most places).
The labels play a large role in what I purchase. I usually do try to buy organic because, even though it is not a failsafe system, it’s better for me and the environment. If I am not appetized by the look of the label, I will not buy the food. So the label therefore entices me to buy what I do.