Have you tried Kroger’s All Natural and Organic Simple Truth Brands yet? I have been trying to eat more organic and natural foods for a few years now and must say that the Simple Truth brand has really made it easier on the pocketbook without sacrificing quality.
If you are interested in learning more about Simple Truth, my buddy Jordan over at Growing Up Natural explains everything:
Simple Truth is a Kroger exclusive store brand that claims to be their healthiest line of products yet. Under the umbrella of Simple Truth you’ll find items like fresh produce, meat, snacks, dairy, beverages and so much more! But the question still remains. Is it all good for you? The packaging claims to be free of 101 artificial preservatives and ingredients (that “their customers” told them they didn’t want in their foods) but here are some further details you might like to know…
:: Simple Truth NATURAL
According to Simple Truth, these natural products meet or exceed federal standards for natural food because they:
- Are minimally processed
- Contain no artificial ingredients
- Are fed a 100% vegetarian diet
- Contain no antibiotics, ever
- Contain no added hormones*
Federal regulations do not permit the use of hormones in chicken.
But what does natural mean?
The term “natural” applies broadly to foods that are minimally processed and free of:
- synthetic preservatives
- hydrogenated oils
- artificial sweeteners
- most artificial colors
- artificial flavors
- artificial additives
It’s important to note that the term “natural” is NOT regulated (except for meat and poultry). However, the Kroger policy has “remained the same as the FDA’s policy on natural foods since 1993.”
So what are the benefits to the natural line of products?
Simple Truth states that they do not use any type of added growth hormones or antibiotics. Additionally, they do not feed their livestock any animal by-products. Instead, the animals are fed a 100% vegetarian diet which “lends to the extraordinary flavor of our natural pork, beef and eggs.” Basically they’re saying these products just consistently taste better than non-natural equivalents.
But because the non-livestock products (ex. chips, salsa, etc.) are not monitored, you are simply given the free of 101 artificial preservatives and ingredients list. Nothing is said about genetically modified organisms (GMO) or how the ingredients are sourced.
While the natural line is still significantly better than some of the other options out there, be sure to always check labels yourself and stick to your gut about which items you purchase! Do not trust what product packaging is advertising alone because looks can be extremely deceiving (see here for a great list of the top 10 highly processed foods to avoid and here for an A to Z list of some seriously evil ingredients).
:: Simple Truth ORGANIC
Certified organic products are different from “natural” ones because they ARE monitored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
What does certified organic mean?
- These products must be produced without the use of synthetic fertilizers, genetic engineering, sewage sludge or irradiation.
- Organic foods are free from artificial preservatives.
- National organic standards require that organic growers and handlers be certified by third-party agencies, state or private, or other organizations that are accredited by the USDA.
Different foods have to meet different standards in order to be certified as organic. For example, irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides and genetically modified organisms may not be used in organic crops. In order for livestock to be certified organic, producers must meet animal health and welfare standards, may not use antibiotics or growth hormones, must use 100% organic feed, and must provide animals with access to the outdoors. Lastly, in order for multi-ingredient foods to be labeled with the organic seal they must contain 95% organic content (see more about labeling organics here).
So what are the benefits to the organic line of products?
Certified organic products have strict guidelines in place in order to provide consumers with a clear purchasing choice. The term natural can be loosely applied to just about anything however, organic cannot. When buying Simple Truth items with the organic seal, you know you are consuming products that hold true to your values.
Simple Truth Organic products are often priced lower than name-brand similar items which is a nice perk for the budget minded. Always make sure to price compare while shopping! Between sales and coupons, it pays to be aware of your store brand vs. mainstream options.
This article was written as a guest post by Jordan Candido, a financial expert on all things organic, natural and allergen friendly. To learn more about how to beat the myth that living healthier is too expensive, visit GrowingUpNatural.com.