in the last few years I have become a compulsive label reader - while I am not big purchaser of "convenience foods" we all need to buy products to some extent. In my effort to totally remove Trans Fat and HFCS from my larder I now read every label before it goes in my cart.
in addition to the above I avoid for anything with too long an ingredient list and extensive corn/soy derivatives. I find that by reading the back of the box/can/jar instead of believing what is on the front I am more confident in what I am purchasing - and not always necessarily paying more
here is one extreme example
Jif Reduced Fat Peanut Butter Spread :
PEANUTS, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, SUGAR, PEA PROTEIN, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: SALT, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, MOLASSES, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, NIACINAMIDE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, ZINC OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, FOLIC ACID, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE.
Market Pantry Creamy All Natural Peanut Butter:
both cheap down market brands - one labeled to make it appear a "healthful" low fat alternative - which one would you feed your kids?
or this less extreme example I posted today about Thai Green Curries
Fresh Green Chili, Garlic, Wild Ginger, Shallot, Lemon Grass, Salt, Kaffir Lime, Sugar, Galangal, Spices ( Coriander seeds, Cumin, Cardamon, Tumeric ). Pepper
Water, Coconut milk (Coconut milk, cornstarch, guar gum, xanthan gum, carrageenan) Anaheim pepper puree, Tamari soy sauce (water, soybeans, wheat and salt), cilantro, Serrano pepper puree, cane sugar, ginger puree, lime juice concentrate, arrowroot powder, sea salt, organic shredded coconut, garlic, xanthan gum, dried coriander, dried cumin, dried lemongrass, shallots, white pepper
Things I no longer buy
Salad Dressing, Bread Crumbs, Most cookies, crackers and commercial baked goods, most "ice creams", flavored yoghurts
I don't make a religion about it or pretend I will come down with the black death if I ate a salad with wishbone dressing and box croutons but I do make best effort to know exactly what goes in my cart and in my mouth
Curious if other CH'ers compulsively read labels, what they look for and if it has changed their shopping habits. What surprised good and bad have you found?