Clean, natural, and organic are popular words we see on food packages aimed to guide shoppers toward healthy products. In this article in the latest issue of Today’s Dietitian, health educators weigh in on the free-from trend. Dietitians are consumers’ most trusted source of health information (2017 Food & Health Survey) and are the health professionals responsible for diet education; this article provides their unique perspective on one of the most popular trends in the food industry.
The dietitians authoring the article suggest that claims like ‘free-from’ or organic can sometimes have unintended effects like promoting fear and scaring shoppers away from healthful, affordable foods. Fear of pesticides, for example, can drive shoppers away from conventionally grown fruits or vegetables, which are nutritious and affordable, toward organic produce that can be more expensive despite being nutritionally identical to conventionally grown produce. The article walks through the facts and myths behind these food fears, including pesticide use, nutrition, food safety, and additives. The authors also provide some great tips about helping people overcome food fears.