Behind the label: Decoding certifications in the shopping aisle
(BPT) - When we visit the grocery store, we’ve become accustomed to a dizzying array of options. There are labels touting everything from food safety to environmental and ethical standards. Making the best decision for your family, your health and the good of the planet is important, but how can you possibly keep track of what all these labels really mean?
Voting with your wallet
Today’s wired world allows us to be more conscious of the impacts of our choices than ever before. Shopping isn’t just about putting food on the table. It’s a daily opportunity to support the kind of world we want to live in. Our actions and what we choose to buy can impact not only the planet’s future, but our social economy as well.
A 2017 study by Cone Communications reported that 60 percent of Americans believe businesses can be key drivers for social and environmental change. Whether it’s phasing out plastic bags and straws or carrying more ethically traded products, businesses are showing consumers that they are listening.
Businesses aren’t doing this just because you asked; they’re doing it because it’s the right thing. Many of them are putting their values on full display in the form of labels that make it easier for you to navigate the shopping aisle.
“As shoppers we are often in a hurry, so much so that we might not even be aware of how quickly we make a decision. That’s where clear labeling can help,” said Rebecca Walker Reczek, professor of marketing at Ohio State University. “Without it you’d need to research each product and the time can add up.”
The truth behind the labels
So what gives? Are organic and natural the same thing? Does a green label mean it’s better for the environment? What does "fair trade" really mean? These are just some of the questions many consumers are asking when they make their way down the grocery aisle.
Most of us are aware of those little labels on our food, but we often don’t understand what they mean. Like any choice, the key is education. To shop in accordance with our values, we must understand what the label stands for and how it’s been verified. And yes — verification matters.
Marketing savvy and great design can create convincing packaging and badges that represent a company’s promise, but often they aren’t based on rigorous standards.
On the other hand, certification labels mean that an independent organization has audited and checked that a company is following a standard set of rules — whether it’s fair trade, responsible fishing, GMO avoidance or better treatment of workers.
For example, the USDA organic label means that an independent organization has audited the farmer to make sure they abide by national organic standards. On the other hand, the term ‘natural’ has no set definition or standards. Neither the FDA nor the USDA has set rules for this term. Pure, natural, green, direct trade — all these terms conjure an image, but are not audited and don’t refer to any established standard. Essentially, they are just words.
A guide to the goods
Everyone has a right to know what is in their food and where it comes from. Look to these certifications to guide your next shopping trip:
* Fairtrade — The Fairtrade certification ensures safe and fair working conditions, prohibits child labor and provides farmers and workers with a fairer price or better wages. Fairtrade products originate in developing and least developed countries where farmers and workers are often marginalized.
Where found: Coffee, chocolate, bananas, sugar, avocados, tea and more
* MSC Certified — By choosing seafood with the MSC blue fish label you are supporting independently certified sustainable fisheries. Their good management practices help ensure fish stocks and habitats are healthy and fishing community livelihoods are secure.
Where found: Wild caught fish and seafood, fish oil supplements, pet food
* Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured — The EFI-certified label indicates that the workers who harvested your food are treated with respect, compensated fairly and engaged to identify problems that impact the safety of your food.
Where found: Fresh fruits and vegetables
* Non-GMO Project Verified — The Non-GMO Project Standard is North America’s most rigorous and reliable standard for GMO avoidance, set apart by its transparency, trustworthiness, ongoing testing and third-party status. The best way to avoid consuming GMOs is to look for the butterfly.
Where found: Dairy and meat products, fruit and vegetables, snack foods, vitamins and supplements, oils and more
Food is a basic necessity, but it is also a conscious choice shaped by our values and our lifestyle. Shop your values on your next shopping trip. To learn more about these certifications and continue the conversation, visit www.fairtr.de/TruthBehindLabels.
There are several simple ways to tune up your nutrition and lifestyle habits so you can feel better than ever. A great place to start is with your diet.
(BPT) - Just about everyone feels like they could use a little extra pep in their day, that surge of energy to get things done and enjoy their favorite activities. This is especially true as we age.
However, very few people actually feel as if they have the energy they need. The stress of modern life, poor sleep habits, consuming processed foods and less than optimal digestion are triggering a perfect storm for a human energy crisis.
There are several simple ways to tune up your nutrition and lifestyle habits so you can feel better than ever. A great place to start is with your diet.
“A healthy diet that is rich in plant foods, whole grains and lean proteins is always the starting point in reaching optimal health,” says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum+, an author and internist. “At the same time, as we get older, it’s important to understand how our bodies change, and what we need to do to help our bodies get what they need to keep our systems running well.
“However, despite our best efforts,” Teitelbaum explains, “it is very difficult for us to get all of the nutrients we need from food alone. Sometimes nutritional supplements may be needed to fill nutrient gaps.”
In addition to movement and a healthy diet, Teitelbaum shares things people in their 50s and 60s need to know to optimize their health and feel good.‡
1. Your digestive system changes as you age, so make sure it's getting support.
A healthy digestive tract is crucial for overall health. As we age, our digestive systems often need more support in order to properly break down food and absorb the nutrients our bodies need to function optimally, according to a study published in Oncotarget.
To get the most nutrition from the food you eat, Dr. Teitelbaum recommends talking to your doctor about adding a plant-based enzyme supplement to your regimen to support your digestive health. GI Digest, for example, is a comprehensive digestive enzyme formula designed to assist in the proper digestion of proteins, fats, starch, dairy and gluten.‡
2. Small things can make a big difference for heart health.
Getting an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids along with vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, may support cardiovascular health.‡ Because vitamin D is best absorbed in the body when taken with a fat source, Dr. Teitelbaum suggests talking to your doctor about a supplement that has a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, like QÜELL Fish Oil EPA/DHA Plus D.‡ Also, be sure to talk to your doctor about other heart-healthy habits you can incorporate into your life, because things like daily walks, reducing stress and increasing your fruit and vegetable intake can all support heart health.‡
3. Is your energy lagging? It may be a simple deficiency.
As we age, we tend to accept at face value that having less energy just comes with the territory. Sometimes the solution is a simple matter of meeting our bodies’ nutritional needs. For example, one mineral that helps the body convert nutrients into energy is magnesium. When levels get low, it can interfere with your body’s ability to access its energy stores, causing the body to work harder, as shown in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
To support your body’s metabolic function, a supplement like Magnesium Glycinate contains 100 mg of magnesium in an easy-to-swallow tablet.
In addition, vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps your body convert food into energy; however, as we age, our bodies can begin to have trouble absorbing enough B12. To support your body’s energy needs, ask your doctor about taking Methyl B12 Plus, a great-tasting lozenge that rapidly dissolves in the mouth.
If your energy levels are lagging, Dr. Teitelbaum says, it’s important to talk to your doctor, so together, you can uncover the root causes, and he or she can make recommendations.‡
4. Feed your body with real, whole foods.
Food processing destroys most of the vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients the body needs to function optimally. Dr. Teitelbaum says the best thing you can do is cut the sugar from your diet and slowly add whole foods. Though most adults should be eating at least 1.5 cups of fruit and two cups of vegetables per day, a mere 9 percent actually meet that target, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It may sound like a tall order to work all those fruit and veggie servings into your diet, but break down the daily goal into smaller parts and it may feel more attainable. For example, just take the simple step of adding one extra serving of fruits and veggies to each meal. Slice some banana on your morning cereal, opt for the steamed veggies with your entree, snack on veggies and hummus, and close the meal with fresh berries. Supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin can also help fill the gaps in your diet. Dr. Teitelbaum recommends Ultra Preventive X as a daily multivitamin that can help provide the nutrients you need in their most usable forms for the body.‡
To address your needs and support your health, always talk to your healthcare practitioner about adding nutritional supplements to your daily routine. To discover new ways to use nutrition to tune up your health, visit the Douglas Labs website and watch the videos at www.douglaslabs.com/tune-up-teitelbaum/.
+Dr. Teitelbaum has been retained as a medical consultant in advising Douglas Laboratories.
‡These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Locally sourced foods are becoming increasingly important to families across the country, and many people are surprised to learn that milk is one of the original farm-to-table foods. Whether enjoyed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in a favorite recipe, like this homemade ice cream, milk is a versatile pairing for any meal.
Introduce Freshness to Your Family Table
The original farm-to-table food kids already love – milk
(Family Features) Locally sourced foods are becoming increasingly important to families across the country – and more moms are taking note of where their family’s food comes from. In fact, more than three-quarters of moms are actively looking for locally sourced food options when grocery shopping for themselves and their families, according to a new survey from the National Milk Life Campaign. ¹
From Farm to Glass
Part of a Balanced Diet
Whether enjoyed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in your favorite recipe, milk is a versatile pairing for any meal. Even award-winning chefs and restaurateurs like Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli use milk as a foundational farm-to-table ingredient in many of their signature dishes.
For more information and delicious recipes, visit milklife.com.
Giorgio’s Homemade Ice Cream
Servings: nine 2/3 cup servings
Nutritional information per serving: 390 calories; 30 g fat; 18 g saturated fat; 260 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 27 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 115 mg sodium; 113 mg calcium (10% of daily value).
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
¹ Weber Shandwick conducted an online Google survey among 1,010 moms between the ages of 18-54 on behalf of The National Milk Life Campaign between June 22 – June 26.
² “Milk: More Local Than You May Think,” http://dairygood.org, (August 06, 2014).SOURCE:
(BPT) - The organics category is becoming mainstream, as it is purchased by shoppers across all demographics. Recently, the category grew in just about every measurable way: in volume, dollars spent, and even in conversations in the media.
When consumers dabble in organic produce, they are more likely to purchase organic goods throughout the entire store and outside the store—like organic snacks or organic cotton sheets. This means it is important for retailers that sell organic products across departments to pay attention to trends in organic produce.
The organic shopper
Casual shoppers are the segment adding growth to the organic category, meaning that sometimes they purchase organic produce, and sometimes they purchase conventional.
“Organics are becoming mainstream, and shoppers are beginning to choose organic items over conventional items,” says Michael Castagnetto, vice president of sourcing for Robinson Fresh. “In our survey with U.S. consumers who buy produce, we found that 51 percent of respondents purchased organic produce and of those, 73 percent purchased both conventional and organic produce during the same trip.”
Research indicated that the organic shopper of today is most likely under the age of 35 or has young children living at home. Organic purchases are also highly correlated to household income.
When it comes to tailoring a shopping experience, it’s important to target Millennials because of their enormous commercial force, but consider the preferences of all generations. Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers all show a preference for organic produce as a destination within the store.
Why organic is becoming mainstream
“In the past, purchasing anything organic was an emotional-based purchase,” continues Castagnetto. “However, for today’s casual shopper, organic purchases are increasingly becoming more of an impulse purchase. The way that produce is merchandised makes a difference in how consumers make purchasing decisions.”
How organic produce is purchased
Organic items are an impulse purchase more than 30 percent of the time. Within the organics category, impulse purchases are two times more likely on items that index higher as healthy snacking options—such as berries and grapes. Here are the top 4 factors driving impulse organic purchases:
* The freshness and quality of the produce: 73 percent of respondents ranked this as a top driving factor
* The price of the produce: 61 percent of respondents rank this as a top driving factor
* The packaging the produce comes in
* Whether the organic produce is locally grown
To learn about who is buying organic produce and gain insight into the reasons why those consumers are choosing organic, Robinson Fresh(R) conducted a survey with U.S. consumers who buy produce—both conventional and organic. The full survey results can be found at www.robinsonfresh.com.
Difficulty sleeping is an issue that many people face, with 1 in 3 adults not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to the CDC. Just two glasses each day of Montmorency tart cherry juice, a natural source of melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone, is one way to help improve sleep quality and duration.
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