Have you noticed an increase in label claims lately? More products are promoting their health benefits, minimal ingredients, and where and how the product was raised, just to name a few. There’s a good reason you are seeing these claims on products, and it’s a simple one – consumers want to know more about their products! Transparency in what they are purchasing and ultimately what they are about to eat or feed to someone, is what it is all about. And, it’s on trend. According to the National Restaurant Association, the Top Trends for 2016 include: locally sourced and sustainable meats, seafood and produce, and natural ingredients or minimally processed foods.
So What Exactly Do Some of These Claims Mean? Let’s Take a Look
Refers to a food that is grown, produced and sold within a certain area. The distance can vary as there is no set definition. The local movement came about to help support local farms and businesses and now many are advertising their local products to support their community, region or province.
Refers to growing food and/or animals in a safe way to protect the environment and promote animal and human safety.
Refers to a food or ingredient in a food that does not contain any added nutrients – such as vitamins and minerals, no artificial flavourings or colourings, no chemical preservatives, and its ingredients are minimally processed. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), an ingredient in a food can be described as natural, but the food itself cannot because it contains an added component. Examples of animal products that could be described as natural are wild turkey or wild fish.
Refers to the feeding regimen for livestock raised on grass or pasture, or allowed to forage throughout their life cycle, and does not refer to living conditions. Grass fed beef typically will be lower in fat compared to grain fed beef.
Refers to growing, handling and processing methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. Organic farms and processors:
- preserve natural resources and biodiversity.
- decrease pollution.
- support animal health and welfare.
- only use approved materials and do not use genetically modified ingredients.
In order to label products as organic in Canada or have the Canada Organic logo on its packaging, farmers and processors must follow specific requirements outlined by the Canadian Organic Standards under the Organic Products Regulations.
Genetically modified organisms are foods that are engineered in a laboratory to introduce new traits or characteristics. Potential benefits of GMOs include increased crop yields, enhanced nutrition profiles and resistance to insect damage.
How Can We Help?
Understanding these claims and what your consumers are looking for will help you decide what you should be promoting. Gordon Food Service can help with product selection and recipe ideas around these trending claims. To learn more or to speak with a registered dietitian, reach out to our Canadian Nutrition Resource Center at email@example.com.