1. It Keeps You Healthy
Food labels allow you to understand the composition of your foods, i.e., minerals, vitamins, fats, calories, etc. This information is fundamental in ensuring that you only eat foods that are good for your health.
Food labels let you monitor your micronutrient intake to avoid deficiencies, especially the common ones like Vitamin D and iron. You can watch your weight by monitoring saturated fats and calories; limiting your intake of salt and sugar and ensuring that you eat a balanced diet. All the aforementioned actions can help prevent illnesses such as diabetes and certain types of heart disease.
2. It Keeps You Safe
Over 600 million people get sick each year and 420,000 actually die after eating food contaminated with toxins, parasites, viruses, bacteria, and chemicals. Labels provide information about the proper use of a product (e.g., cooking and storage instructions) along with warnings, which are necessary for keeping food safe.
3. It Prevents You from Buying Counterfeit Products
One of the main aims of food labelling is to prevent fraud. Without internationally guaranteed labels, food sellers could use false misrepresentations on the packaging to deliberately mislead consumers. When you buy chocolate, you want to ensure that it’s actually chocolate, or that when it’s fish, it is indeed the fish it claims.
4. It Allows You to Detect Ingredients that May Cause Harmful Reactions
Anywhere from 10- to 25%of the population in developed countries is affected by reactions to food. Tree nuts, wheat, crustaceans, fish, eggs, milk, soybeans, and peanuts are some of the most commonest allergenic foods.
If you weren’t aware of the ingredients in a particular product, you may mistakenly end up eating something that would trigger an allergic attack, some of which are very severe. Food bottle labels help you know exactly what should be avoided.
5. It Helps Stop Food Wastage
If read correctly, food labels can stop you from throwing out good food. Food labels have date markings that let you know for how long the product is safe to eat. It is important information to ensure that you don’t get sick from consuming expired food. Still, it is also true that confusing “use by” and “best before” may contribute to more food wastage.
In the European Union, about 10% of the food wasted is linked to date marking. Educating both consumers and supply chain stakeholders can be an effective way to prevent this food wastage and keep date marking true to its purpose of keeping food safe to eat.
6. It Allows You to Support Local Food Producers
You can sometimes identify the origin of the food you buy by checking the labels. For example, Darjeeling tea (India), Manchego cheese (Spain), Colombian Coffee (Colombia), or even Kona Coffee (USA), can attract customers’ attention and bring more value to the product as well as the producer.
Consumers usually identify typical and local food products to a specific place and attribute characteristics such as quality and taste to geographic locations.
In a study undertaken by FAO and EBRD, nine products with geographic origin labels increased the price of the final product by anywhere from 20- to 50%. Consumers today are increasingly associating quality with geographical traditions and origins.
Food labels are rather easy not to pay attention to whenever you reach out for your favorite snack or product. They are just one of the numerous seemingly boring pieces of writing vying for your attention. Still, information is power and it can help you take control of your health.
You may not like the idea of being referred to as a “junk food addict” or a “health nut”, but you definitely want your peanuts to be referred to as peanuts and tomatoes to be referred to as tomatoes.