Confused about the sell by and use by labels on grocery foodstuffs? As well as the “I’m all natural” claims?
Rest assured. You’re not alone.
According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, nearly 2/3rds of respondents believe, for instance, that ‘natural’ implies the item is a better food and that it contains no artificial ingredients, chemicals, pesticides, or GMOs. It’s food that is simple, less processed, and genuine (whatever that means).
The US Food & Drug Administration hasn’t defined it yet.
Which, of course, got us to thinking: What about the labels we in the marketing and communications biz blithely toss around, like logo and tag line and slogan and campaign and … ? Do our key audiences (for example, the C-suite) really understand what we’re talking about – and are we all on the same page? And do all our labels result in further confusing the folks we’re trying to reach – and persuade?
You get our drift. Obviously, we apply labels to simplify a complex world. The words and phrases we use to describe things and ideas, according to a 1930s’ linguist (and proven true for decades and decades after), actually determine what we see. Think of it as a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Twizzlers is a low-fat snack. Natural cheese is simply that, without cellulose powder to keep it from sticking.
So is time to clear up our own noise – and, perhaps, set a great example for the manufacturers of this world?