Can You Tell The Difference Between These?

November 1, 2012   27 Comments

Does anyone else run through the grocery store as fast as you can to try to get out of there? My cart is always moving.

Front Label Changes

Recently, I decided to buy some low sodium chicken stock and found myself picking up “33% Less Sodium” thinking I had purchased the right stuff. Call me stupid because this was what it said on the nutrition facts:

Holy Moly Guacamole!! That is 24% of my daily value in ONE CUP. Sheesh, what if I ate more than that?

At any rate, I found myself back at the store examining the “Low Sodium” packaging above on the chicken broth on the right. Do you see that little label in the right corner?

That little nutrition facts label is on the FRONT of the package and it had the information that I needed to make an educated decision about sodium in my chicken broth. This chicken broth has 140 mg of sodium or 6% of my daily value - way less than “reduced sodium”. Argh.

I learned at the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo that these FRONT labels are coming to most packages soon. Why is this exciting? Soon, you will be able to run through the store with your Nikes and just glance at the front of the package for a quick nutritional review.

I see myself grabbing the right stuff off the shelves without even having to turn over the box as my cape flows behind me.......healthier, buffer, smarter, and younger......(okay, not younger but the BIGGER print makes me feel younger).

Of course you need to know what you are looking for to make an educated decision, but I like the idea of being able to scan the shelf for the particular macronutrient that I either want to limit or increase. If the front label had been on the reduced sodium container, I would have known right away that it wasn't what I wanted.

This label seems like such a great idea. Have you noticed these new front labels? What do you think?

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When oh when will they start using READABLE expiration dates, the embossed type rubs off and they never seem to use a big enough or bold enough font when printed and the contrast with the color of the packaging is poor, they need to be in the same spot on each package, maybe outlined in a box. It is terrible. SO BAD

Good point, I have fallen for that same trick only to get home and really look at it and find not so low sodium. Having the facts on the front would be a great help and it's time consuming to be turning over everything you buy.

I have a problem with MSG/Sodium because of blood pressure, I found that out after eating in a chinese restaurant years ago, thought my head was going to explode because of the MSG in the soy sauce. I'm really careful to read labels on items such as broth, etc. It only took that one experience to make me very aware.

I too am excited to see more of the front labels. But keep in mind you should still check the side because not all ingredients are or will be posted on the front.

thanks SO much! i usually look at sodium super closely but for some reason, i've not paid as much attention when i get 'lower sodium' products. i know better than believe the front of the package but guess i just got lazy. thanks for the reminder to stay focused on the details!! :)

I have made a point of allowing enough time for the grocery shopping to make all kinds of decisions, and even when I am feeling rushed (for no particular reason typically), I force myself to slow down. I have not noticed the front labels and cannot predict how useful I will find them as I try to consider overall nutrition. I suppose there might be some instance where only one or two nutrition characteristics matter to me, but as another poster pointed out, reading the ingredients is essential, even in a certified organic product.

Glad there going to post the nutrition on the front of the labels!!!

I have noticed the front labels on more products. Sometimes you're flipping the box/container around trying to find the ingredient list and the print is getting smaller and smaller, so having it bold on the front shows they have nothing to hide.

As far as broth goes...I make my own, so I can control what's in it. I find the more foods I make from scratch, the better off I am.

I love the new labels on front, especially on the bad stuff (like our vending machine here at work), because sometimes you just want to indulge (i.e. candy bar) I look at the package for the calories etc and see if I really want to waste them on a snickers or make a healthier decision. 9 times out of 10 I end up with the healthier option.

My oppinion is that the label with nutrition information and the ingredient list should be on the front of every package not the back. Doing that will make companies spend more money on the quality of their products rather then advertising, which most often misleads the consumer.

Make your own stock in the crockpot - it doesn't get any easier!

The boxed stuff actually isn't very nutritious at all - it's been pasteurized to make it shelf stable. All those wonderful nutrients have been lost.…

I like the idea of posting some of the vital nutritional stats on the front of the containers. But I have to agree with a previous poster who stated that expiration dates need to printed more clearly and so that it they don't rub off. By posting calories,fat and sodium on the front,it would save time at least for those who are concerned with those factors. Since not every single detail of the product can't fit on the front of the product without it being too cluttered,it would still be important for those with allergies or certain preferences to read the ingredients.

Also,maybe the food companies will start making their products a little healthier(i.e.cutting down on sodium and fat content)when more people start to become more aware,or at least get an idea of what they are getting. Of course not everyone is watching what they eat but at least those that are will have an easier time sticking to their nutritional goals.

I know we're talking about sodium here, but I've become very frustrated lately trying to find an organic chicken broth that doesn't have cane syrup in it. Why is there added sugar in my chicken broth?! I think I'll follow Cristina's advice and start making my own.

I am the SLOWEST mortal in the grocery store, bc I have to read every label on every item I pick up. I have to look for MSG (it gives me awful headaches, which is why I buy the Swanson Natural Goodness product pictured on the left), and I have to look for nut products (daughter's allergy) and for soy additives (same daughter). Has anyone but me noticed that virtually every canned soup has "soy protein" added? I have recently found 1 or 2 without either soy or msg added, and did come across some boxed soups at Trader Joe's that are safe for my family. I have to avoid all those easy recipes, though, that involve a can of cream-of-whatever soup. My life would be easier if I weren't having to squint at the teeny tiny ingredient lists and translate chemical additive names, and if they would use actual food in canned soups instead of trying to bump up the protein count with soy protein!

I, too, go to the store with my running shoes on and I have noticed the new front labels. Very nice! Thanks for the post.

Yeah, 33% less sodium than that brand's *regular* product. I was drawn to the label (not the front nutrition facts part) of the 2nd box because it fits a more "natural" look. That's one thing that I have to be aware of is that the packaging may look better, but who says that means it's a better product? In this case, it did have less sodium, but I know I have to be more careful and read the details!

Reducded- just means less than origional

Low-is actually lower!

I buy that package only saw the 33% never read the label. I will from now on. Thanks for the eye opener.

WOW that is and WAS an eye opener! thanks for 411

Interesting that there are 3x more calories per cup too...

By the governing body that be ie. USDA, if a product is marked "low sodium" it has to contain 140mg Na or less.

Great post!

@ Nicole: There is more calories in the higher sodium broth because that one has protein. The lower sodium has essentially nothing in it, except a hint of carbs.

I really like Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock. It has 140mgs and is a lovely golden brown. Rather flavorful too.

I have to watch both carbs and sodium so the side labels are what I use because not all front labels list what I need. However, my bone to pick with the pre-packaged broths/stocks is once you take out the salt they really don't add much flavor to the party. I've never had success at making my own chicken broth but good success at vegetable stocks. The key trick on that is to roast your vegetables first! It makes a world of difference.

Another point to make is that on items like boxed stocks/broths I think you would do your research and then next time reach for the same ones. On the down side of that is products do change they reciples/stats over time so periodically you should recheck.

I don't watch my salt intake, but many of my clients need to. Anything on the front of the package is marketing, only the label can be trusted! Glad to see they moved some of the real info to the front. I bet one or both still contain gluatamates (listed as yeast extract, natural flavor), just derived from somewhere other than MSG.

Oh, you Americans and all your choices...Up in Canada, we don't really have much for choices in broth, but I do read the labels, and compare them. I got really anal about Soy Sauce one time, and spent about 10 minutes reading all the labels. I still can't convince my hypertensive mother in law that the best soy sauce in Canada, our cherished China Lily (you should have heard the revolt when the kids took over the company and were going to discontinue it!) still has LESS sodium per equal 1 TBSP serving than the cheap, low sodium crap. It's crazy how a few words on the front can trick us like that.

I think the new front labels are great. i have never fallen for that trick, because after walking the aisle of many grocery stores in my area, I realized that a lot products which claims to be healthy are really not sometimes due to the sodium content. It may be low in sodium but sometimes when you at the total servings per package or per can it can be a lot. I am on a low sodium diet, so I prefer to get products are are extremely low in sodium if it is over a hundred milligrams of sodium I rarely purchase the item. However, sometimes it can be hard to do so sometimes it is not always possible to do. It is best to purchase a product that has no sodium added, which usually is around 10, 20 milligrams of sodium, it will usually be under a 100 milligrams of sodium. Always read the labels of any product that you buy, you will be surprised at the sodium content and what is in the product. Now if I can just get the calorie down to a science as I have with the sodium content.

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