November 6th, 2013

The Truth About “Natural” and “All Natural”

November is Good Nutrition Month, so we?re honing in on a few points that will prove to be important in your grocery visits. Using one of our own bands for chicken sausage, we?ll run through a few things. I chose our All Natural Wildfire Buffalo Chicken Sausage simply because it is one of our more popular flavors of chicken sausage.

Buffalo Chicken Sausage Sleeve FrontBuffalo Chicken Sausage Sleeve Back ?Natural?

When used in the food industry, the word ?natural? brings to mind food that is fresh, minimally processed, and healthy. Note that almost all packaged food is processed in some way. Currently, the FDA has not developed a definition for such a term. Even though that is the case, the agency has not shown objection to ?the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.??Because of this loophole in regulations, many food companies use the term freely, sometimes without even letting consumers know exactly what they define the term as.

On our band, as with all of our chicken sausages and our gourmet chicken hot dogs, you can see the presence of our green icon stating All Natural*. The asterisk then points you to our statement on the back of our product explaining that ?all natural? here, for us, means ?minimally processed, no artificial ingredients.? Our idea of all natural can be further shown by reading our nutrition facts and our ingredients list. ?In fact, that?s actually the best option to avoiding marketing claims on the front of package. You should make it a necessity to always check the nutrition facts and ingredients list of any food product, not only those in the meat industry!

Wildfire Buffalo Chicken Sausage Ingredients

The ingredients list for our Wildfire Buffalo Chicken Sausage is shown on the left.

Our chicken meat is actually 60% breast meat and 40% thigh meat. Reading through the rest of the ingredients, you can see that our ingredients list backs up our ?All Natural? claim that our product is ?minimally processed, [with] no artificial ingredients.?

In terms of being healthy, that is what we hope ?natural? really means. With an overall look at our nutritional facts in the chicken sausage above, none of the nutrient levels jumps out as alarming. This helps reinforce the healthy connotation of ?natural? food. My point here is better made by using a quick example outside of the meat industry. A bag of natural potato chips that is made from real potato chips instead of flakes can still have a high fat content!

So keeping an eye out for ?natural? and ?all natural? foods may be a good place to start, but be mindful of what that company really means when they use those phrases. Be sure to also double-check the nutritional facts and the ingredients list to make sure that the food is healthy and to your expectations. So while ?natural? is one thing to look for, don?t let it be the only thing you look for.

Tune in next time when we address the presentation of fat content on food labels!

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