New & Now

Building a Better Label

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If you’ve ever struggled to make sense of food package labeling (and who hasn't?) there may be hope yet. Deciphering nutritional content and ingredient lists can be daunting to even the savviest shoppers, and when considerations like environmental impact and humane production methods are thrown into the mix, it’s enough to make anyone want to throw their hands up in defeat. What we need, says The New York Times writer Mark Bittman, is a new food label for the modern day consumer. 


Bittman’s hypothetical traffic-light approach to labeling would take the guesswork out of deciding which foods are a “go”, and which ones should be avoided. Foods would be graded and color-coded based on three key factors: nutrition, “foodness” (or, foods closest to their natural or whole state), and “welfare” (determined by treatment of production workers, animals, and the earth). The suggested label would also indicate whether or not a product has been genetically modified. The aim is for consumers to be able make at-a-glance, enlightened choices without having to read through convoluted nutritional labeling. Now that we can get on board with.

My Dream Food Label from The New York Times