Families are a pillar that holds up our American culture. Families are ecosystems that cooperate and collaborate to accomplish chores, show up to everything on time (thanks, Mom) and contribute to the direction of our nation's future. The question: What makes our families operate? What fuels the fire that keeps the day-to-day activities going smoothly? How do we keep our families happy and healthy?
One answer is proper nutrition.
The idea of nutrition sounds simple, but a lot goes into it. Major factors to consider are the origins of our food and the production processes they go through before it ends up on our table.
Stepping foot into the grocery store can be a major task on its own, but taking the time to sort through the numerous options presented on store shelves is a whole other feat. Carefully considering options is crucial to ensuring the products selected are both wholesome and high-quality, but how do we know?
Here are three tactics you can employ to be more informed about the food products you choose for your family.
Know your labels.
GMO-free, all-natural, no hormones added, grass-fed, free-range, gluten-free, organic, USDA certified organic, farm-raised, antibiotic-free, certified humane ... and the list goes on and on.
All of these labels are meant to help convey information about the products you buy, but who has the time to research what each one means? Additionally, not all of these labels are regulated by a major institution or even relevant to the products. It is important for you to take the time to learn the labels that are both officially certified by a reputable institution and relevant to your family's dietary needs; then, make decisions from there.
The increased convenience and lower prices some larger producers can offer often seem enticing, but food origins and traceability can be more complicated with larger producers. While all food must go through numerous checkpoints to ensure safety, choosing local first gives a bonus of access to knowledge.
Local producers often have much smaller operations and are usually able to give you a full rundown of the products you buy. They are the ones who oversee the products from start to harvest to sale. The convenience of one trip to the supermarket is alluring in today's busy world, but taking the time to research companies that sell local products is worth the effort. Some supermarkets do a great job of incorporating local vendors. It is your choice to find them. You can even find local vendors online that will ship goods directly to your doorstep, which saves a trip to the store altogether!
As mentioned above, some labels are not what they seem. This is where your power as a consumer looking to feed a healthy family comes into play. It is your job to challenge the brands by being an informed buyer. Does this mean you need to incite a riot or march to the doorsteps of big producers demanding answers?
You can simply let your purchasing habits speak for themselves.
The more informed a consumer you are, the better able you are to make the changes you want to see when feeding your family. Don't be afraid to challenge your favorite brand by doing some research—if you haven't already.
It really comes down to you. You have to take the time to sort through the wide array of foods and how they are marketed. Some brands make it easy to get answers, while others can be a bit more ambiguous. When it comes to feeding your family, you have a right to demand transparent information from the brands you love most. If those brands are not able to offer that transparency, you hold the power to choose other products to feed a happy and healthy family.
Written by Jordan L. Punches, marketing manager, Schaendorf Cattle Co. Jordan is a Grand Valley State University alumnus with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations. He is a West Michigan native with roots in agriculture that go almost as deep as his passion for integrated marketing. He enjoys his work and time spent with his dog, Bullet. You can learn more about him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @JLPunches.
About Schaendorf Cattle Co.: Schaendorf Cattle Co. is a family farm nestled in West Michigan that sells high-end beef via e-commerce. Schaendorf Cattle Co. provides beef products that are locally raised with birth-to-beef traceability and no added hormones. Additionally, the Schaendorf family is committed to taking care of their resources by using sustainable farm practices and providing their animals with top-notch care. Find out more on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @SchaendorfBeef.
Photo Courtesy of Schaendorf Cattle Co.