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Food labels have been in use for over 50 years, not only in the United States but also in other developed and emerging countries (McFadden, 2017). Initially, very few people paid heed to the labels, resulting in unhealthy eating patterns and, in some cases, disease transmission. Labeling is designed to provide customers with relevant facts about the nutritional content, the product maker, and the products used to produce the drink. The products also assist users in making better choices on potential allergens and other health statements. The transparency of these labels has however been compromised in several situations where manufacturers lie about the product's information (Crave, 2015). As a result, food label transparency becomes an important aspect that should be stressed in policies guiding the manufacturers_x0092_ conduct.
Consumers are often confused about the ingredients in the products to be purchased. They further expect brands to provide a detailed and an accurate account of the product_x0092_s information. Various researches conducted to find out the consumers_x0092_ views on the labels have revealed that there is a great need to provide complete information on a product (Loureiro, 2003). Brands have also had an advantage of gaining the market share through enhancing transparency. The importance of transparency is further supported by studies reporting that consumers are more willing to switch brands from those providing lesser product information. Failing to provide the information about the ingredients further puts off buyers with informed purchase decisions.
Food labeling transparency has been violated by common brands in the market today. For example, some fruit juice companies claim that their ingredients are only natural fruits like cherries, pears, and peaches. However, laboratory results have revealed that they contain several forms of artificial preservatives like sodium benzoate which are industrial chemicals likely to cause body reactions. More questions on transparency can be raised when focusing on products like the Krakus Polish Ham and the Alexia Sweet Potato Fries that have chemicals used to preserve meat and Xanthan gum respectively. Although people tend to buy products that are labeled as being natural, there lacks a conventional agreement on what the term stands for. In the minds of many, natural means no chemicals used in the processing stage. However, there are skeptical consumers who do not believe in the "natural label" and take it as a meaningless phrase. To a few in the population, natural means there is no use of pesticides or the product has not been manufactured using genetically modified organisms (Loureiro, 2003).
A profound analysis of the benefits that accrue from promoting transparency in food labeling reveals that it is a beneficial policy that should be adopted by all manufacturers. For the effectiveness of the process, transparency should be underscored, and the necessary legal measures be undertaken to deal with companies that fail to comply with the set standards. The failure to provide product information causes confusion and distrust amongst the consumers. Closely associated with this drawback are inconsistency, misinformation, and information overload. Product buyers should take an advantage of the internet invention and use search engines to find out more about the ingredients that they might not have heard of before. Besides, they can use the reviews done on the manufacturers to make decisions about certain brands.
Crave, R. (2015). Let's Be Real: Why Transparency in Business Should Be the Norm.
Loureiro, M. L. (2003). GMO food labelling in the EU: tracing _x0091_the seeds of dispute_x0092_. EuroChoices, 2(1), 18-23.
McFadden, B. R. (2017). The Unknowns and Possible Implications of Mandatory Labeling. Trends in biotechnology, 35(1), 1-3.
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