Beware Of ‘Healthwashing’ Food Brands

It’s like Greenwashing but for Food.


Since the rise of healthy, ethical and sustainable food shopping habits have become critically important to customers and the environment, more brands are ensuring their products fit the new social and sustainable standards.

First rising in the fashion industry, some brands tend to deceive their customers into ‘thinking’ their brand is more sustainable by using vague phrasing that in reality carries no weight – the food industry is no exception.

“Greenwashing is when brands make their [products] sound more sustainable and eco-friendlier than they actually are” says Brian Kateman, president and co-founder of Reducetarian Foundation.

Brands take advantage of shopper’s good intentions by slapping on a label like “whole grain” or “high protein” onto their packaging to make their product sound healthier, despite the realities of its entire nutritional and ingredients profile. This type of healthwashing is quite sneaky, and it helps to know the correct terms to spot them.

A good way to identify truly sustainable products it to look out for certifications on the packaging; Fair Trade Certified, Animal Walfare Approved, Global Animal Partnership, Certified Humane, Certified B Corporation and Food Justice Certified. Brands with any of those certifications have met the standards and proved all animals are cared for, and workers involved with sourcing and manufacturing of the product are treated well and paid fairly.

Brands like Quorn have begun using carbon labels, which identify the total carbon footprint used in manufacturing of the product, packaging included. Buying locally sourced food is another way to ensure a low carbon footprint.

More people are considering where their food is coming from and what affects it will have on our planet. Of course, it may not be in your budget to ensure everything you buy is organic and truly eco-friendly. It is best to prioritize on the food you buy more often, such as meats and veggies.

Images by Cottonbro, Anna Shvets


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