Half of Americans (53 percent) feel like food labels are sometimes misleading, new research suggests.
In fact, mistrust in food labels extends to 11 percent of Americans who find food labels to be completely untrustworthy.
And it’s more than just distrust of labels that leaves many Americans annoyed; 82 percent of Americans have felt tricked by nutrition labels.
American consumers are finding that food labels are becoming increasingly vague, with results showing that as the top reason people think food labels are so misleading.
The lack of trust continues with 43 percent of Americans believing that brands are misleading consumers as a way to sell products.
And 44 percent of Americans are skeptical of the health claims purported on food labels.
From all the confusion to not enough information, it’s no wonder that Americans are struggling to understand food labels.
A study conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Crispy Green looked into the habits and thoughts of 2,000 Americans and found that 33 percent consider transparency from a brand as an extremely important factor when purchasing food products.
With a whopping 77 percent of Americans actually reading food labels, 71 percent are looking at sugar when they read a nutrition label.
But it’s not just sugar that tops the list of concerns for Americans. Calories, fat, sodium, and carbohydrates rounded up the top five most important figures that people care about when they read a nutrition label.
“People are waking up to the fact that what they eat has a direct correlation to their health,” said Angela Liu, Founder and CEO of Crispy Green. “So, it’s no wonder they’re scrutinizing labels — they want to take control of their wellbeing and this is a great place to start.”
With sugar being the No. 1 concern for Americans and distrust of food labels being so high, it’s no wonder that 93 percent feel like companies hide sugar in their products by using different words on the actual label.
Sugar is a sneaky ingredient. Some 56 percent have found themselves eating something they later realized contained sugar.
And a further 45 percent have eaten something for a year or longer only to find out that it was actually totally unhealthy.
Health is increasingly important for Americans, with 85 percent considering themselves to be healthy eaters and another one in five following a specific diet or lifestyle.
As such, 78 percent are looking for products with simple ingredients.
So how many ingredients qualify as “simple?” Americans find five ingredients to be the maximum for a “simple” food item.
But it’s not just ingredients that Americans want to be simple: 83 percent are also looking for products with simple packaging as well.
In fact, 78 percent of Americans prefer brands that have simple, easy-to-read packaging rather than packaging that includes extraneous information that may be confusing.
And for those who follow a specific diet or lifestyle: 97 percent look for packaging that caters to their specific lifestyle.
When buying food, Americans are mainly concerned about the quality of ingredients.
However, they also care about the price, where it was made/where it’s from, the number of ingredients, and the packaging.
“For obvious reasons, people are gravitating toward packaging that clearly states what’s inside,” added Liu. “Clear, concise packaging not only makes it easier for consumers to understand what they’re buying, but it also gives them peace of mind about a company and trust in its brand.”
— With assistance by Zoya Gervis