Know your labels!

Author : teriann

Always read the fine print!  Reading might not be your favourite activity but it is important that you read the labels on the food that you buy. Why is it so important that consumers read the labels on the products that they buy? Do we really need labels?

Labels – a major part of packaging

Product labels come in different forms. There are labels that are in the form of stickers, tags, or even content prints on the packaging. Labels  allow us to get to know the contents and ingredients of the products we are using or consuming. Many consumers have health issues that require them to be careful of the ingredients they ingest, for example if you need to limit your salt intake, the food labels will make it easier for consumers to determine the sodium content of the product.

Or if you have food allergies, such as peanut or gluten allergies consumers need to check the ingredients and identify if the food that triggers your allergies is present or not. In some cases, peanut may not be an ingredient in the item but it may have been manufactured in a plant that processes them and that information is also on the package.

Important information

Here are some other pieces of information that are displayed on labels:

1.     Manufacturers indicate on their labels the nutrients that are present in their product and the percentage of certain ingredients on their products.

2.     There are also ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ dates on labels. By putting these dates on the products, customers can store and use food safely, as well as reduce food waste.

3.     Storage instructions are also included. These instructions help your consumers safely store products before and after opening the packaging, which will ensure they remain safe to consume.  Some examples of those types of instructions are: ‘Store in a cool, dry place’ and ‘Once  opened, refrigerate and consume within 3 days.’ are common examples.

4.     Any instructions for use, such as cooking instructions if they are needed are also displayed. These instructions include the cooking equipment, temperature, cooking time and any other specific instructions needed to prepare the food.

5.     Contact details and place of origin of the company are also included on the package.

So are labels important? Consumers need to ensure that they are getting the best value for their money, this includes reading labels and ensuring that you get what you want! So what’s your take on the issue? Do you always read labels?

What information do you often notice first on a label?

Drop me a line and let me know!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner Online Writer

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