Labelsplaining: Allergen-Friendly Cookies
Labelsplaining: Allergen-Friendly Cookies
As a brief reminder, “Labelsplaining” is a term the Foodspace Nutrition Team uses to describe their process of analyzing CPG food items based on packaging, nutrition, and ingredients. The team thinks critically about food packages and label imagery we see and work with on a daily basis to explain what the label jargon, regulated terminology, and nutrition facts mean in digestible terms (the team really loves food puns).
Product of the Week: Cookie Butter Soft Baked Cookies
As an allergen-conscious brand, Partake Foods has identified a target audience that wants to know exactly what is not in their food. Their front-of-package label devotes its real estate to “free from” language and third party certifications rather than health claims or other regulated terminology. Since this is a sweet snack, we wouldn’t expect the nutrition facts to meet requirements for health claims.
These cookies go beyond the 8 major allergens designated by FALCPA and do disclose the voluntary cross contamination statement to assure consumers their food was allergen-free from production to shelf.
School Safe & Free From – A big claim for Partake Foods is that they are School Safe, this is an unregulated phrase but signals to caregivers that they are safe to send with a child to a school where their classmates may have food allergies. This phrase has grown in popularity but school rules for outside food vary, it’s best to be cautious so foods free from major allergens are an appropriate safety measure.
- OU Kosher – A private certification by OU Kosher is an acknowledgment that a product is made from ingredients acceptable to the laws and traditions of Jewish tradition detailed in the Torah, Talmud, and other religious texts. Kosher products are produced under Kosher supervision and are verified by a rabbinic Agency.
- Certified Vegan – The most popular vegan certification in the United States. It guarantees that the product does not contain animal products, including animal byproducts, and that no animal testing occurred.
- Non-GMO Project – Certifies that the ingredients for this product comply with Non-GMO standards, something the Non-GMO Project’s website mentions that meeting their standards is not interchangeable with saying the product is GMO free or is any safer than a product without their certification.
- Certified Gluten-Free – Private certification by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization that is a program run by the non-profit Gluten Intolerance Group of North America. It’s standards apply directly to a product not the facility.
- Spokin Verified Partner – Spokin is a mobile phone app for the allergen community. This requires a brand to submit their package, labels, and facility information to Spokin for verification.
- Snack Safely – A free platform by Snack Safely for manufacturers to use to disclose information about 11 allergens, the 8 currently required on labels by FALCPA plus gluten, sesame, and mustard.
Online vs In Real Life
As you read above, Partake Foods takes their Third Party Certifications seriously. The physical packaging lists 4 certifications on their front-of-pack label; kosher, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Online this product listing highlights 7 third party certifications; the same 4 on the box with the addition of Snack Safely, Glyphosate Residue Free, and Spokin Verified. Along with these additional certifications the page mentions the cookies are also free of lupin and casein.
Partake Foods knows what information is important to their consumers and they don’t push boundaries with marketing claims.
While these cookies are free-from many ingredients, they are definitely full of flavor and satisfied my sweet tooth.
About the Author
Kayla Kaplan (she/her) is Head of Nutrition Communications at Foodspace Technology. Her passion is food through an intersectional approach centered around food justice and sovereignty. Kayla has a Master’s of Science in Food & Nutrition Policy & Programs with a focus on Innovation and Communication and a background in Critical Quantitative Food Studies research.
Connect with Kayla on LinkedIn and Instagram.
Foodspace is a computer vision technology company that delivers solutions for the Grocery and CPG industry. eCommerce teams can simply drag and drop their product images into Foodspace, and within seconds their vision AI attributes and maps digital data to complete any and all retail specific fields. With #JustGoodData, Foodspace saves eCommerce teams time, gives them control of their product data, and provides peace of mind that their products are winning on the digital shelf.
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