Monday, February 28, 2011

Food Labeling - 一畫勝千言 - Why we don't get it


A picture is truly worth a thousand words. I should've included a can of soup where the stubborn and sticky label covers the instructions to add a cup of water.

It's all a bit silly when we pay more as a result of the law and can't even view the preparation directions. Indeed, with inflation a global trend, the percentage of prices rises an additional ~5 percent on top of inflationary pressure due to labeling restrictions, extra manpower to replace stickers, words, and marker out statements. The labeling law did seriously restrict consumer choice in that ~10 percent of products have disapeared from the shelves, leaving customers waiting for their products to arrive and some whose distributors wouldn't provide the labeling information to due to extra costs.

That said, the grocery stores and gourmet boutiques seem to be doing a great job of inviting new players into Hong Kong's market to regain what was lost, for instance, in this photo, a marinade sauce from Christchurch, NZ (and due to recent events there, hope they are well).

All this, and most people don't read those food labels anyway, save for perhaps their ingredients. A recent HKU study found that mostly no one can name all the key nutrition categories required by a labelling law, and just 13 percent look at the label.

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