Simple Symbols

Simple Symbols

why we need a guidance system for the things we buy.

After the pandemic hit our world, as a writer my work shrunk a great deal. On one hand, I was getting increasingly worried about my parents, and on the other it was also about survival for myself and my son.

I convinced my parents to move in with me, even though it was an added responsibility. I was now more worried about their health, both mental and physical. We shifted to eating healthier, natural, fresher and of course local.

I had read about some brands resorting to adulteration. And given my lifestyle change, I had begun dedicating extra time to evaluate other alternatives. I realised that label communication gets quite technical. I was often confused because there was no singular way of knowing whether a certain product was high of nutrition or not? Am I using safe products? Am I eating healthy? How do I trust a new brand? Is it credible? Are they hygienic? Do they use environment friendly methods? As a seeker of convenience, I would really love some mechanism or system, wherein these questions get answered simplistically.

Priya Mehta’s concerns are echoed by scores of urban mothers who have been voicing them more actively now. And various platforms have emerged in alleviating these fears and concerns.

Consumers have been seeking answers to the above questions in many ways. There is a great need felt for credible ways that helps them gauge whether a brand is healthy, hygienic, and safe? Interestingly, many platforms have emerged which make these decisions easier. Here are some platforms that might help you choose a brand:

1. Made Safe

An American non-profit organisation committed to eco-system focussed certification, this multi-product platform evaluates and certifies products from baby care to household and more. It primarily scans the ingredients for their toxicity and comparing it against their proprietary database of ingredients. This database is a scientific compilation of ingredients across internationally recognised organisations and agencies.

2. Health Star

Food Safety and Standards Association of India (FSSAI) has recently introduced “Health Star’, a front of pack labelling system (FoPL) which helps consumers make healthy food choices. Based on the nutritional profiling of the packaged food, FSSAI would be assigning ratings from half a star to 5 stars. Yet to be implemented, this system will help consumers make informed food choices.

3. Good on You

We are what we wear. And Good on You is all about looking good and doing good. The fashion industry is known to cause more harm to the environment than others. Complying with United Nations Sustainability Development Goal (UN SDGs) 12, and guided by its principles, Good on You rates all kinds of apparels and rates them from ‘We avoid’ to ‘It’s a Start’ to ‘Good’ to ‘Great’ on counts of ratings given on Planet, People and Animals.

4. Goodness Meter

While FSSAI’s Health Star is still underway, we at Goodness Meter have felt an urgent need from mothers like Priya Mehta across the country. Through independent profiling of packaged foods by an expert panel of professionals, we at Goodness Meter profile foods based on Nutrition, Food Safety and Ingredients.

Meet our expert panelists here to know more.

A front of pack labelling system is a need of the hour. As consumers are more and more time pressed, we believe that Goodness Meter will go a long way in empowering the consumers of India in making good food choices.

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Demystifying food labels II

Demystifying food labels II

A simple guide to understand nomenclatures we see on packaged foods

Let’s say you are looking to buy cooking oil – a staple requirement in any home.

1.Pure

For years, you have been accustomed to using the standard sunflower oil because it’s what your parents or in-laws bought. And as you browse through the shelves, you see a number of brands, which probably you haven’t heard of, or seen any advertisement of .

The packaging is attractive, and they support it below by saying ‘Pure and cold-pressed’.

When a brand claims to be pure, it means that it is not mixed with any other ingredient.That it contains only that ingredient. For example, pure Coconut oil or Olive oil means that it is contains 100 percent coconut and no other added ingredients.

Cold- pressed is a process of production which retains a lot of its raw flavours. Since cold pressed extracts its oil at room temperature, its acidic value if quite low. Most of its natural compositions are retained making the food tastier and rounded.

2. Natural

One would assume that when you see the word ‘natural’ on any food or meat products, you know that it came naturally from any plant or animal right? Absolutely true. But are you a 100% sure that manufacturers or brands are not using the word loosely? Does it mean that the meats are not injected with antibiotics? Think again!

Food Safety and Standards Association of India has disallowed food companies from using the words such as ‘natural’ ‘fresh’ original, traditional, pure, authentic, genuine and ‘real’ unless the product is unprocessed. The only extent to which manufacturers use the above claims is only if their products are washed, peeled, chilled and trimmed. Other than that, companies do not have the permission to use the above words on their packaging.

If these words are used within the brand name, they are required to disclaim to FSSAI that it is solely for the purposes of trademark and /or brand name.

However, as per research published in the Times of India, consumers felt that one of their barriers to eating healthy comes from a lack of understanding of labels and confusion over the technical details of heathy products.

Therefore, when you come across these words featuring anywhere on the label, we at Goodness Meter would urge you to use your discretion.

Continue reading our blogs and be more empowered in making good food decisions

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Demystifying food labels

Demystifying food labels

Presenting a series of blogs which will help you make an informed decision while purchasing packaged foods

Estimates say that India’s food processing industry may touch close to USD 470 billion by 2025. In this mix, metros and mega metros lead the trend and Tier II and Tier III will emulate them in their adoption of processed food in their daily lives.

While this happens, consumers in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad will further evolve in their buying behaviour. Organic, Vegan and gluten free foods have made their way into consumer homes. There is more awareness about organic foods that’s pesticides free, keto diets, gluten free diets and so on.

While some are adopting it as a trend, there is greater awareness about the results of eating farm fresh, organic, natural, pesticides free products.

But do we truly understand what these terms mean? How are they defined by regulatory bodies? Do manufacturers resort to mislabeling? And lastly and most importantly, how we as consumers read them when we see it on the packaging of products that line the supermarket shelves. We are demystifying some of these words in a series of blogs for you so that you may make an informed decision when you are purchasing any food article.

Organic

Estimates say that India’s food processing industry may touch close to USD 470 billion by 2025. In this mix, metros and mega metros lead the trend and Tier II and Tier III will emulate them in their adoption of processed food in their daily lives.

While this happens, consumers in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad will further evolve in their buying behaviour. Organic, Vegan and gluten free foods have made their way into consumer homes. There is more awareness about organic foods that’s pesticides free, keto diets, gluten free diets and so on.

How do we identify organic food in the market?

As per the requirement of Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations 2017, all organic food must carry JAIVK BHARAT logo along with its certification logo.

Look out for the following certifications on the packaging material.

Do read the next blog where we demystify more terms for your understanding.

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