Have you ever looked on the back of some products to find ingredient labels that list multiple potential ingredients?
Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil? Soybean Oil and/or Corn Oil? This is especially common when the ingredients are used for cooking or preparation-- you'll find this in chips and popcorn a lot because of that.
What this ingredient label means is that the bulk oil ingredients that may be used in the product could be Canola Oil... but it also might be Sunflower Oil or Safflower Oil. Or maybe both, or all three. Whatever the company happens to decide for to use that production run is a-okay, because they've already listed the possible choices on their ingredient list.
This trend is especially common with oil ingredients, since they are often commodities and, in some products, are easily interchangable.
Ever wonder why companies list more than one possibile ingredient? There's a good (and very self-preserving) reason behind it.
Why Food Manufacturers Should List 2-3 Potential Ingredients On Their Label
Listing two or three options for a particular ingredient on the the product label is a very smart thing for a company to do. It is a strategic purchasing choice, but most people don't know, it's used for only particular ingredients.
It's Ideal To List Multiple Potential Ingredients For Commodity Items
Commodity items, like bulk oils, have fluctating prices that change on a weekly or daily basis. The current rates are driven by supply and demand, which can put companies in a pinch if a particular commodity market is tight.
Listing a couple of ingredient options saves a company in times of commodity market crisis, when specific ingredients they use may be high priced, or even worse-- completely unavailable. It gives purchasers a little bit of wiggle room to help preserve the companies bottom line.
This system is challenging to put in place with ingredients that don't have easy substitutes. For example, items like Extra Virgin Olive Oil don't have an "equal replacement", so you can't put this system into place for that ingredient.
How To Go About The Process of Qualifying & Labeling Multiple Ingredients
Would you like to list a couple potential ingredients on your label and help build a "commodity market buffer" for your company in the process?
Stayed tuned for tomorrow's blog, where we'll walk you through how to plan, approve and prepare for using multiple potential ingredients in your product.