At-a-Glance Guide to Decoding Natural Food Labels

Abigail Blank - The Upside Blog |

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Making sense of the current food industry is tricky. There are all kinds of catch phrases and icons used on packaging and in advertisements that make it confusing. If shopping for healthy foods has you feeling like you’re fighting an uphill battle, you’re not alone. But we can break it down into three categories that make it easier and take the guesswork out of choosing foods for your family.

At-a-Glance Guide to Decoding Natural Food Labels


Foods labeled as organic must contain at least 95% organic ingredients. This is a much more useful label than “natural”, because that means diddly squat. The USDA Organic label on these products makes them easy to spot and ensures that the ingredients have met the USDA standards for organic certification.

Certified 100% Organic

This label, though slightly less common, ensures that the food is both organically grown but also does not contain any genetically modified organisms. It’s like the double whammy of food, labeled with true transparency and vetted by the USDA as meeting the standards for this certification, as well.


So, here’s the tough thing about non-GMO products. Currently, there is no required testing or labeling for a manufacturer to make the claim that a product is non-GMO. But, there is a voluntary verification system available that many companies choose to pay for so that you can be assured their product is not made with genetically modified ingredients. Look for the Project Non-GMO Verified label to ensure that the sources of the ingredients are verified and the product is not made with genetically modified organisms.