Tricks & Tips , Tricks & Tips

The fine differences in food labelling

What’s the difference between jam and marmalade? Or sheep’s cheese and feta? And are juice and nectar the same? We decided to investigate. Check out the answers below!

Our fruity breakfast spread has all kinds of names including jam, jelly and marmalade. There’s even something called “extra jam”! But why the different names for what appears to be the same product? We decided to investigate.

According to an EU definition marmalade is made with citrus fruits, like England’s famous bitter orange variety favoured by Paddington Bear. The minimum quantity of fruit is 200g in every kilo of marmalade. Spreads made using other non-citrus fruits are known as jams. Jam is a spreadable product made using fruit pulp, sugar and water and has 350g of fruit in every kilo. Once the quantity of fruit increases to at least 450g per kilo the product can be labelled as “extra jam”. And then there’s jelly. This is the name given to a spread made using fruit juice thickened with a gelling agent.

Sheep’s cheese, Greek cheese or feta?

Knowing what’s what at the cheese counter can be just as complicated. Hands up who can explain the difference between sheep’s cheese, Greek cheese and feta? Here’s the answer. Sheep’s cheese is a general term for cheese made using ewes’ milk. This includes feta, although it can also contain up to 30% goats’ milk. Greek cheese is usually made from cows’ milk matured in salt brine.

Juice, nectar of fruit juice drink?  

Here we go again. Why the different names for what seems like the same drink? Well, juice can only be sold as such if it contains 100% juice or pulp from fruits or vegetables. No sugar may be added.

Nectar on the other hand only contains 25-50% juice topped up with water and sugar. As manufacturers can add up to 20% sugar, nectar is not as healthy as pure juice.

However, it’s fruit juice drinks that bring up the rear. The fruit content is even lower and there’s also a list of permitted additives as long as your arm. The minimum quantity of citrus fruits is 6% or 10% for other fruits. Artificial aromas are used to add flavour.

Ice cream or sorbet?

As the name suggests, ice cream is made using cream, milk, sugar and fruit. Sorbets consist solely of water, sugar and fruit, making them suitable for those with a lactose intolerance.  

When it comes to ice cream flavours, there are even more rules. Only ice creams made using real vanilla extract or natural vanilla flavouring can be advertised as “vanilla ice cream”. Products labelled “vanilla favoured ice cream” often contain artificial vanilla aromas. The same applies to other ice cream flavour so always reading the packaging carefully.

So now you know! Remember to read the packaging of the products you’re buying so you can made an informed choice. Buon appetito!