When it comes to popular terminology and the labels you see on food products, which words matter to you, and which don’t? Take a look at just what these terms mean to help you make better snacking choices!

All-Natural/No Artificial Flavors or Colors: To be labeled as “natural,” a product cannot be overly processed or contain artificial ingredients or added artificial colors. While this term isn’t regulated by the FDA and it doesn’t determine if a product is healthy, it’s an eye-catching label item for you to take a closer look at the ingredients to see what it contains. At Darlington Snacks, we ensure there are no artificial flavors and colors (NAFNAC) within our Appleways line. This means that any ingredients on our Appleways labels should be familiar to our customers.

Artificial Preservatives: Although they are not identified by the FDA as harmful, artificial ingredients are “not found in nature and therefore must be synthetically produced.” For many, seeing “no artificial preservatives” is a reassurance that less chemicals are used in their foods. While the use of natural preservatives can cost a little more, it also adds more nutritional value, such as Vitamin C and potassium. Our Appleways snacks use only natural preservatives to maintain shelf stability without the additional of artificial ingredients.

Organic: Organic is a stricter terminology for foods that contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. According to the USDA, these ingredients have been produced through methods that “integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.” While organic comes with a higher price tag, you will know that foods with this label have gone through rigorous inspections.

Non-GMO: As the term Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) has become more popular, many are still unsure exactly what that means. The FDA does not regulate the term Non-GMO, its classification is carried out by The Non-GMO Project to identify that ingredients used were not from organisms that have been genetically manipulated or altered in a lab. When looking at a product’s label, it’s important to keep in mind that non-GMO doesn’t necessarily mean a healthier option, and some genetic modification practices are not harmful (such as selective pollination).

Nut Free: As the most common food allergy in children, nut-free labeling (and labeling of any of the top nine allergens) is not only important, but it is required. Whether you’re looking for snacks for a member of you own family with allergies, or being considerate of other children at school, keep an eye out for the “contains” label on the back for packaging, and “nut-free” or other callouts on the front. At Darlington Snacks, we bake all our products in a completely nut-free facility. It’s not just that our products are nut-free, but we keep tree-nuts and peanuts out of our manufacturing processes from start to finish.

Gluten Free: Although gluten is not a top nine allergen requiring labeling from the FDA, “Gluten-Free” is a voluntary claim that can be used on food labels that meet all of the requirements of the regulations. This means the product:

  • Contains less than 20 ppm (parts per million) for the unavoidable presence of gluten.
  • Or does not contain an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains, or an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten (or has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more ppm gluten)

While Darlington Snacks bakes products that contain wheat, and therefore do not fall under a gluten-free destination, we do have the ability to have clean and separate lines for any future gluten-free product offerings.

Kosher: Kosher labeling identifies foods that meet Jewish dietary laws and are classified as dairy, meet or neutral (neither dairy nor meat). Look for the Kosher symbols on the packaging along with designations, such as “D” for dairy, “DE” for dairy equipment and “Pareve” for neutral. All products from Darlington are certified Kosher Dairy – even our Appleways Cheddar Cheese Crispy Crackers!

Whole Grains: To ensure you are getting more nutrients in your foods, look for “made with whole grains” or “100% whole grains.” This means that the nutrients that come in cereal grains are notremoved, as they are in white flour or white rice. With whole grains, you get more B vitamins and fiber. Keep an eye our for While Grain Council stamps on products from Darlington Snacks for a quick visual as to which of our products contain a significant amount of whole grains.

Many of us at Darlington Snacks are parents first and are used to making decisions every day about what our kids eat. We take the same care and concern and transition it into how we bake our products. We make smart decisions about all our ingredients while also weighing in the importance of pricing. When it comes to products containing whole grains, all-natural flavors and colors, and no artificial preservatives, our Appleways line is the best option. All our snacks, across all brands, are nut-free, Certified Kosher Dairy and baked with quality ingredients.

Learn more about what’s inside each of our snacks today: DarlingtonSnacks.com/snacks