Five Words to Not Live By

Earlier this week, we saw a great list of greenwashing terms over at Huffington Post. We have a few more marketing terms of concern – words that lead you to believe in a concept that is unregulated and often subjective – to alert you to.

When you see these words, keep in mind that they are attempts to highlight positive product attributes and are often carefully crafted to distract you from other negative attributes about a product you should consider.

1. Artisan. We’re not quite sure why there’s been an uptick in products bearing this word, since the majority of products bearing it are anything but what the definition seems to indicate. Maybe it’s because of articles like this one, which advised people to seek out the good stuff by looking for the word “artisanal.”


2. Fresh. Sometimes oxymorons are great. We don’t think they’re all that accurate when it comes to frozen veggies, though. We’re also not sure what it really means when “fresh” is on a body scrub. Do you?


3. Gourmet. Gourmet evokes images of unique flavor combinations or elaborate preparation techniques. Mass-produced food just doesn’t jive with this cooking philosophy, but for some reason, we do a good job falling for this marketing term.



4. Antioxidant. In general, antioxidants are a win because they help our bodies combat free radicals. The best place to get your antioxidant fix is produce. When you see this word on packaged good (food or shampoo), it’s usually an attempt to make you think the product is a suitable source of a nutrient. It’s usually not.


5. Premium. A word that definitely leads us to think of better quality, “premium” is found on products ranging from ice cream and dog food. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to substantiate its use on human food, or on pet food for that matter.



To see the original list of greenwashing words, check out the article at Huffington Post. Let us know about any deceptive marketing terms you’ve seen in the comments section.

About Sheila Viswanathan

Sheila Viswanathan focuses on educating individuals on how to make healthier dietary choices. She received her doctoral degree in Nutrition and Public Health from Teachers College, Columbia University and is certified as a registered dietitian.
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One Response to Five Words to Not Live By

  1. Unfortunately with petfood there’s even another category called “super premium” and it has the same problems. Largely a marketing term but can actually be quite poor quality.
    Thanks for your article.

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