Illinois Farmer Q&A: What food labels do you think hold the most significance?

March 30, 2017

Illinois Farmer Q&A: What food labels do you think hold the most significance?

You have questions about farm practices and food labels, and Illinois farmers have those answers. We asked local farmers your questions about various labels so you can get your answers straight from the source.

Let's talk about what's on your table.

"The labels I focus on the most for our family are the basics that we know have a direct impact on our health – sodium, saturated fat and sugars. We size up protein and vitamins and minerals once we’ve narrowed down options. We also try to limit the amount of preservatives. Balance, moderation, variety - we mix it up. Our challenge is trying to make as many good decisions as possible because we eat out so often. With four children in sports and multiple other extracurricular activities, eating on the run and planning ahead for healthy snacks becomes a way of life."

-Heather Hampton Knodle, Fillmore, IL

"The only label I pay attention to is the nutritional label. For me that is the only one that matters. When I'm buying produce I do look for the origin, only because I've connected with many farmers and ranchers through social media and in many cases can trace a brand back to a specific farm family. There's this notion we should just buy local, but in reality we have an opportunity to support farmers from all over the world when we grocery shop."

-Katie Pratt, Dixon, IL 

"In my opinion, the two “labels” that hold the most significance are the Nutrition Label and the price. When selecting food for my family, the most important factors are serving a good variety of healthy foods most of the time, and doing that at an affordable price. I am comfortable feeding my family GMO and non-organic foods, so I am not seeking out specific labels. Instead I am going to purchase the products I want at the best price, regardless of what labels the product has or doesn’t have. Catch-phrase labels like “natural” or “organic” do not indicate that the food product is healthy, and likewise, you can find many healthy foods that do not carry those labels."

-Krista Swanson, Oneida, IL

"I try to shop the edge of the store. I trust our food system and when looking at labels I personally look for lower processed items. My son had an egg allergy that he has now outgrown but at the time I had to focus on every word of the label, I didn't have time to be bothered with senseless marketing claims, I needed to know if that food was going to cover my toddler in hives. Labels that indicate the presence or "free from" information of true allergens are the ones I think hold the most significance. I don't care if the cereal has X grams of whole grains when the first ingredient is sugar, to me true health and nutritional facts are what the label is for."

-Megan Dwyer, Coal Valley, IL

"Locally grown or local ingredients catch my eye because I like to support local businesses and that decreases food-miles. I also try to eat whole grains. I try to AVOID organic, all-natural, and non-GMO labels."

-Lynda Gould, Ashton, IL

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