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Confusing Labels

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As an outsider, it's been eye-opening to learn about the tricks and tactics used in the food industry.

As one example, ingredient labels, which are regulated to be ordered by weight. Let's look at this bottle of vinegar I saw this morning.

Notice the ingredients listed as "Vinegar (Water, Vinegar)", rather than simply: "Water, Vinegar"

Why would the company choose a more complicated (and confusingly circular) definition using a "compound" ingredient, rather than the simpler one?

If I had to guess, it would be so that someone skimming the label quickly would just register Vinegar as the first word, which appears stronger than if Water registered as the first word. Same formulation, two different reactions.

Now, compound ingredients have their place, especially with products with several main components (imagine a lasagne for example) But in researching it seems they are often used deliberately to change perceptions.

For example - most milky chocs have sugar as the first (heaviest) ingredient, but many deemphasize that by using a compound ingredient.

So the word "chocolate" comes first, and "sugar" after.

Is that legal? Sure.
Does it help sales? I guess so.
Is it an approach we want to take for BITE? No not really, especially where it could give someone the wrong idea. That wouldn't fit nicely into our transparency ethos...

#learning #biteforwhatsright