What do you think of when you hear the word “artisan?” Made by hand? Quality ingredients? Manufacturers are hoping that when you see “artisan” on the label, you will reach for their product. But there is no one definition of artisanal on food packages and the government doesn’t define it or regulate its use. And even fast food restaurants are getting into the act, using “artisan” on some menu items. It must work. According to Datamonitor, in the past five years over 800 food products have used the term to describe themselves.
Where are you most likely to see “artisan” on food packages in the grocery store? The bread aisle is a good candidate – the word “artisan” brings to mind homemade bread piping hot from the oven.
In reality, “artisan” may not mean the food is locally sourced, less processed or healthier. And when a nationwide company uses the term “artisan” on its product it’s not likely that ingredients are locally sourced.
Looking for more tips about what is on food labels? Read Understanding food marketing terms on the MissouriFamilies website.
Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org, 573-882-1933