Deconstructing Labels

Talk about label confusion. I saw this at Killarney Market in south Vancouver, where the check-out woman told me that it’s popular in many Asian kitchens. When I researched it (a habit from working in the biz), I learned that honey powder is often a dried version of agave nectar – no bees. However, this particular ingredient list says ‘cane syrups and honey’ (in both our official languages). Yet, there’s the word ‘cactus’ on the front, in pretty green, beside a buzzing bee.

What exactly do I have? I couldn’t find a company website for my product so I went to the distributor’s website, Seoul Trading USA, but it’s only in Korean. That got me wondering about origin. The package says it’s a product of the USA but ‘Product Of’ is more confusing than the bee or not bee question.

If it is agave, why don’t they just say so? We like agave, right? We know they can’t call it honey if it’s not. Not here, anyway. And that’s the thing. Each label is supposed to comply to the standards of the country where the product is sold. But if each country is different?

Well, it’s a nice label, in French too…

As for the contents, it’s sweet, sweeter than white sugar. It does have a slight honey taste so maybe I just confused myself (and you). Such are the pitfalls of labelling for the whole wide world. Read them and wonder.