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Gillian Keller deciphers the mysteries of food labelling in Spain

THE supermarket shelves are stacked with products bearing fancy names and labels that are downright confusing to the shopper, in Spanish or English.

Some are even there to trick you.

Many words and phrases on everyday food items are totally misunderstood, so the Olive Press went to town to try and decode them for you.

NATURAL
Be wary. Only mineral water from springs, real yogurt, and aromas and preservatives deserve this distinction. Everything else is an exaggeration.

 

ARTESANO/CASERO

Artisanal or homemade are used to signify care, expertise and quality of ingredients and products which are not mass-produced. However currently there are no official restrictions on who can use these terms; it’s always worth finding out the story behind the label.

 

MARINADO/MARINADED

Some might think this is just flavourful preparation. But in reality it’s mostly added water, not worth the additives and expensive price for soaked meats.

 

PRODUCTO CÁRNICO

‘Meat product’ might sound ideal but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Although the product will contain meat of some sort, it will also have water, spices, preservatives, colours and other additives. This is why ‘burger meat’ is not the same as minced beef.

 

JUGOSO/EXTRAJUGOSO

Juicy or extra juicy food sounds fresh and natural but in reality it’s another way of saying ‘pumped with water’. It is usually seen on packs of sliced processed meats and translates to less meat and quality, just more water.

 

100% CARNE DE…

Just because the slices of turkey on sale are 100% turkey meat, the product as a whole isn’t all turkey.  It can still contain any amount of water and additives, it just means that no other type of meat has been added, other than turkey. They’re good with word play.

 

SABOR

Seen in desserts and yogurts, it’s simply saying it’s flavoured like and tastes like something but doesn’t actually contain it. So sabor fresa yogurt tastes like strawberry yogurt but contains none of the fruit.

Beware of missing words as well. Sliced or grated cheeses, that don’t actually say the word cheese almost always aren’t legally cheese. Same goes for luncheon meats and minced meats, unless they contain the word ‘meat’.

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