The next time you go food shopping, check the packaging carefully. I encourage you to do a little digging for the truth. Food manufacturers employ some pretty crafty tricks to make you believe their products are more than they actually are. With some clever wordplay they can make it seem like your buying one thing when the truth is very different. What's worse is they can actually get away with it.
I was out for a family meal at the weekend and my cousin was there with her young family. To keep her son amused she brought a few snacks for him and it seemed to be doing the trick. I spotted one packet that young Charlie had and felt the need to investigate further.
What's the truth?
The front of this packet would have you believe that inside was a whole bunch of organic carrot sticks. Just regular sticks of carrot for the little one to munch on. Now what could be healthier than that? The alarm bells were starting to ring as soon as I picked up the packet. They certainly didn't feel like the carrots I was familiar with. In fact, when I had a little feel around inside the packet, they felt more like Wotsits.
So I flipped the bag over and took a look at what these 'carrot sticks' actually were. As you can see from the label here they are not all they seem to be. For starters they are only 14% carrot, less than one quarter. Not a real carrot in sight either but something that was formerly a carrot now ground into a powder. The main ingredient here is actually corn (72%). Strangely this is also the main ingredient of the aforementioned Wotsit. In essence what we have here is a corn snack flavoured with carrot powder and not a carrot stick at all. But hang on a second, it gets worse.
Let's look at the front of the packet again. It seems like they are made by a company called Organix. A clever play on words that leads you to believe everything inside the packet is lovely and organic. Wrong! Check out the back again. These tasty 'natural' snacks contain Thaimin. This is a vitamin B1 supplement often added to corn based food products. While it's relatively safe, it does say on the packet that Thaimin is not certified organic. So not really carrot sticks and not really organic either. Even though the front of the packet would lead you to believe something else. Ultimately, it would have been better (and cheaper) to cut up a carrot and chomp down on that.
These 'carrot sticks' are just the tip of the iceberg and not really the worst contenders either. You'll find this misleading information on many food products. Manufacturers will use lots of enticing language to persuade you that their products are something they perhaps are not. My advice is to totally ignore whatever it tells you on the front and head straight for the ingredients and nutritional information on the back. You can find out more on reading food labels here.