Most Parents Don’t Understand Food Labels

Articles
January 25, 2010

Most Parents Don’t Understand Food Labels

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) conducted a survey revealing that children are not the only ones that could be duped by silly characters and front of package health claims

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) conducted a survey revealing that children are not the only ones that could be duped by silly characters and front of package health claims. Approximately 1,500 British moms with children aged 15 or under were surveyed; nine out of 10 misinterpreted front of package labeling information and health claims. We can only imagine that the incidence of the American mom being confused by these labels are similar. Front of package labeling was supposed to aid in making the healthier choice easy and quick; unfortunately many of the products that boast front of package nutrition ‘clipits’ or health claims, according to this survey as well as one conducted by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy, are also loaded with sodium, sugar, and are void of valuable nutrients.
 
Some of the specific claims that fooled even the most discerning moms included, "naturally-flavored" and "no artificial ingredients" claims used on many breakfast products that were found to be high in refined sugar and saturated fats. The researchers found that breakfast seemed to have the most offenders; for example, one breakfast cereal bar claiming to be high in vitamins was also found to have more saturated fat and sugar than a piece of chocolate cake! 
 
A related study conducted by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy, found that ‘kid’ cereals, those specifically advertised, marketed and strategically placed at ‘kid level’ on the shelf have, a staggering 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber and 60 percent more sodium than those marketed towards adults. To make matters worse, these types of cereals average three to four health claims on every box according to Yale researchers, and also claim to be a ‘nutritious way to start the day.’

Currently 33 percent of children aged 6-11 are considered overweight or obese*, we must not forget that these children are the future; marketing pseudo-healthy foods to children is blatantly irresponsible. The FDA is finally stepping up to the plate on this issue, soliciting advice from experts and consumers in order to develop more user friendly nutrition labeling and upping allowable nutrition claims. Until then, let’s help make tricking moms’ and children begging for unhealthy foods, a thing of the past. Koodies, our kid-foodies are our future. These are kids who are interested in real, whole foods, knowing where they come from, how they are grown and even cooking and enjoying them. Let’s encourage this generation of Koodies to make healthy choices, enjoy real foods and as a surprise to parents everywhere, and teach them to reject cleverly marketed ‘food.’
 
Check out the Koodies parent and kids social network at www.koodies.net.