While all-natural and less processed products are becoming more accessible in the industry, foods are often misguidedly advertised as “healthy” via confusing label terms without fully revealing their true benefits—or potential harms.
In this episode of Health Mix, host and brand consultant Yareli Quintana sits down with Kate Geagan, an award-winning dietician, author, and nutrition pioneer. Raised in an environment filled with highly processed meals, Geagan first felt the “world of food open up to her” when she traveled to Italy after graduation and attended a cooking school.
“I became interested in the intersection of food, cooking, and health, and also the science of nutrition,” says Geagan. “It led me to this path of wellness: what is the science of nutrition and health and wellness? And how can food be that entry place to spark joy in people and connect them to all that’s so positive when they eat well?”
For Geagan, conscience-based and value-based eating is key. Current food systems are largely designed around efficiency, growth, and affordability rather than sustainability.
“We know from the data that most people are eating far less [beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds] than they should be, even just to meet basic governmental guidelines,” says Geagan, “but especially when it comes to cultivating optimal health for themselves and pursuing a sustainable diet.”
Geagan argues that advocating for policy change is not enough, as policy is inherently a slow process that cannot quickly meet the needs of current science recommendations and an evolving market. Change has to start with grocery stores, restaurants, brands, and consumers themselves.
And some marketers are not helping that process. The front label on a product “has a lot more room for marketing claims, and that’s where consumer confusion can abound,” adds Geagan. “Marketers are very savvy. Some are doing beautiful, honest, transparent work to communicate important brand values—others are trying to cozy up. The devil’s in the details.”
And what should consumers do when they are confused? While consumers can always contact brands directly for information, they can also take comfort in the fact that the foods they buy at the grocery store that do not come with a food label are generally “the healthiest foods in the store.”
Check out the podcast above to learn more about what Geagan would prefer in a food label, defining a sustainable diet, and how companies can work toward a more sustainable future.
Production Manager / Sr. ProducerVIEW BIO