One simple way to figure out who’s trying to trick you into spending more money on groceries
Often, organic, non-GMO (non-genetically-modified), and local foods are more expensive than conventional foods. This is due to the fact that the growing practices cost more and producers know that they can charge more to the informed consumers who tend to seek these products out. As health coaches to real people, and being budget-conscious ourselves, we understand that you don't want to spend more money than necessary. In the food arena this can be difficult as full disclosure, transparency, and helping consumers make economical, informed decisions has never been the focus.
One of the ways food companies entice people to buy their products is deceptive labeling. For example, a company may label their orange juice gluten-free and charge more than a generic brand that does not include that label. But think about it for a second. Oranges are naturally gluten-free. Putting "Gluten-Free" on an orange juice carton is at best inane and at worst a deliberate deception to make you think that brand is better and therefore worth more money.
This problem also comes up with GMO products. Some companies put "Non-GMO" on products that have no ingredients that are currently genetically modified. For example, that same orange juice manufacturer may include non-GMO on the label but there are no commercially available GMO oranges. To help you avoid the potential expense, we've created this nifty downloadable handout with all the currently commercially available GMO products. If a product does not have any of these ingredients, as of now, it is by default non-GMO - you go buy that generic brand and bask in your savings Scrooge McDuck style.
Be warned though that these potentially GMO crops may be further processed into a variety of ingredients such as “amino acids,” “citric acid,” “lactic acid,”, “maltodextrins,” etc. You can easily avoid these weird sounding ingredients though by just buying real food. It’s simple!
Pro Tip: Don't forget that USDA organic standards prohibit the use of GMOs. Therefore if your product is organic it's non-GMO.
Stay tuned for a future article in which we’ll get into more detail about GMO: what it is, should you care, and more!
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