My biggest pet peeve on nutritional information labels is “natural flavors.” I find it aggravating that a food manufacturer is not obligated to tell consumers what is in a product, but there are a couple loopholes. If the ingredient does not add nutritively to the product, and is derived from a plant, they don’t have to. They just use the “natural flavors” catch-all.
There are different reasons why they want to keep ingredients a secret.
- They might be considered a trade secret – a secret recipe, for example.
- They are just one of multiple ingredients that can be used, and the manufacturer wants to be able to change periodically, based on what is cheapest or easiest to obtain.
- The actual ingredient sounds unappetizing and they’d prefer not have to tell anyone.
“Natural flavors” presumably look better to consumers than “artificial flavors” which are simply chemical concoctions engineered to taste like something.
Of course, if you are allergic to something, it doesn’t matter how “natural” it is. I prefer knowing what is in my food.