Trending Product Claims – Are You In The Know?

From health benefits to ingredient content, it pays to understand what the words on the package mean.
100% Natural stamp

Have you noticed an increase in label claims lately?  More products are promoting their health benefits, minimal ingredients, and where and how the product was raised, just to name a few. There’s a good reason you are seeing these claims on products, and it’s a simple one, consumers want to know more about their products! Transparency in what they are purchasing and ultimately what they are about to eat or feed to someone, is what it is all about.  And, it’s on trend. According to the National Restaurant Association, the Top Trends for 2016 include locally sourced and sustainable meats, seafood and produce, and natural ingredients or minimally processed foods.  

So What Exactly Do Some of These Product Claims Mean? Let’s Take a Look


Refers to a food that is grown, produced and sold within a certain area. The distance can vary as there is no set definition.  The local movement came about to help support local farms and businesses and now many are advertising their local products to support their community, region or state.


Refers to growing food and/or animals in a safe way to protect the environment and promote animal and human safety. 


Even though the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not developed a definition for the use of this term, it may be used on meat and poultry products if the following criteria are met. No artificial or coloring ingredients, no chemical preservatives, and its ingredients are minimally processed (such as fresh meats).   This term does not refer to the manner in which the animal was raised or fed.

Grass Fed

Refers to the feeding regimen for livestock raised on grass or pasture, or allowed to forage throughout their life cycle, and does not refer to living conditions.  Grass fed beef typically will be lower in fat compared to grain fed beef.

USDA Organic

Refers to products using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics. Organic farms and processors:

  • preserve natural resources and biodiversity.
  • support animal health and welfare.
  • provide access to the outdoors so that animals can exercise their natural behaviors.
  • only use approved materials and do not use genetically modified ingredients.

In order to use the USDA Organic seal, producers must receive annual onsite inspections and keep organic food separate from non-organic food. 


Genetically modified organisms are foods that are engineered in a laboratory to introduce new traits or characteristics. Potential benefits of GMOs include increased crop yields, enhanced nutrition profiles and resistance to insect damage.

How Can We Help?

Understanding these claims and what your consumers are looking for will help you decide what you should be promoting.  Gordon Food Service can help with product selection and recipe ideas around these trending claims. To learn more or to speak with a registered dietitian, reach out to our Nutrition Resource Center at

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