Healthy food is Booming! There are numerous trademarks and health claims that giant food producers use to tell us that their products are super healthy. I understand that claiming to be fitting in a healthy diet is good for sales, so let me give you an insight in the tricks they use to make packaged food looking healthier.
Trick number one:
If you want to add a lot of sugar to your product, add different types. In this way these ingredients won’t be on top of the ingredient declaration, making place for more healthy appearing ingredients. Producers of cereal bars are using this trick very often. They appear to be healthy, but are actually high on calories by sugars and saturated fats. Just making something more complicated than it is works.
Trick number two:
When you produce a product which has a lot of sugar, just mention that it’s low on fats. In this way the attention is put on another health fact. A big lolly pop company tried this once, but fortunately did not get away with it.
Trick number three:
I you are able to replace the sugar for fruit concentrate you can tell the consumer that you did not added any sugar! But you did, in the form of concentrated fruit. Believe me there is nothing healthy about fruit concentrate.
Trick number four:
High fiber content in a product is positive for the healthy image. But fibers are not yummy, so add inulin. This is a fiber powder that keeps your product tasty, but you can write on your packaging that it has a lot of fibers. However It does not work the same as fibers in wholegrain and vegetable. products.
Trick number five:
Make a white bread made of refined flour and add caramel as a brown colorant to make it look like it is healthy cause it’s very brown. Yes, we are that stupid..
Trick number six:
A lot of paste or concentrate of vegetables in your product means bingo. You can calculate these overheated concentrated “was a vegetable once” ingredients back to its original water content. Now your packaging can say: 250 grams of vegetable inside! Even if the product itself only weighs 150 grams. Get it?
Trick number seven:
A pile of evidence tells us that milk is not an essential product everyone should eat. In fact, a lot of scientists say milk is not good for anyone, except the milk of your mother the first year of your life. But there is a big industry around milk products, thus there is a big political lobby around it too. As long as we believe it is healthy they can stay in business. How about that?
Trick number eight:
Switch from regular to biological or ecological ingredients. We consumers actually think the product is healthier. Or make it fair trade or bio dynamic. For us it is all the same; it takes our guilt away.
Trick number nine:
Investing a lot of money in governmental organizations who are seen as an authority helps. They can tell all the consumers your product fits in a healthy diet. Bribing famous persons who are seen as an authority helps as well. Unless they are fat, this makes them less convincing.
Trick number ten:
Add some kind of bacteria nobody has ever heard of to your product and show a lot of fit bellies in the commercial. Even better, make up a name for a new lab created bacteria, so no one else can use it. I’ll bet we believe we get a flat belly and a more regular stool as well.
Dennis Favier, March 12, 2013