Brands market to create trusted customers, get their products in stores, and promote their products. But don’t let it fool you! Keep reading for some tips and tricks to buy and feel better.

Though we are ultimately responsible for what we put in our stomach, many brands’ clever marketing and healthful advertising play a large part. They intentionally trick the human brain by using psychological tactics.

As large-scale global concerns, like obesity, become even more relevant, marketing and advertising efforts still remain. Wrappers are made kid-friendly to appeal to a younger population, and prices are made affordable to appeal to low-income adults. Although it may seem like a good deal in the moment, your health is being put at a risk.

Organic Vs. Natural: Though thought of simultaneously on food labels, organic and natural must not be confused. Organic is food produced without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents. Natural is food that has supposedly undergone minimum process or treatment. There is no actual regulation on the word “natural.” Words such as “natural” and “all natural” are solely meant to appeal to the consumer. Unlike the word “natural,” labeling your product with the word “organic” must be government-approved.

Processed Vs. Unprocessed: These terms are misunderstood to connote “healthy” or “unhealthy,” but it is not always that simple. Unprocessed is undergoing no change from physical state. Minimally processed is having been cut, cooked, or dried without many additional ingredients. Fully processed is when the nutritional composition has been changed. For example, sautéing a piece of broccoli is considered minimally processed. Most people would categorize this as unprocessed, but it is undergoing a change, though it is not extreme.

Here are three actionable steps to spot greenwashing and better your habits:

  1. Think about what information is provided – All natural meat but without context of the animal’s living situation or how they were fed.
  2. Look for real labels including... animal welfare approved, certified humane, global animal partnership
  3. If able, shop local; At the end of the day, showing support to smaller farmers guarantees that what you see is what you get!

Above, you can see some strategy put into some brands’ wrapping and marketing. Some may see a nature valley wrapper and think of pure, plant-based ingredients, but you can see that there are not many good nutrients being provided when you look further into the ingredient list. Try purely elizabeth, which is made with superfoods and still tastes as delicious.

Don’t be fooled by the countless products in the grocery store aisles claiming to contain nutrients and benefits for your health. The fewer the ingredients, the better. If you recognize the names of the ingredients, chances are the product is less processed. Educate yourself on how to better read labels, and you will be ready to hit the market!

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