How to Read Fruit Labels: Picking the Best Fruit
Anytime you walk into the produce section of a grocery store, you’re going to find fruit from all different places from all different growers! We’re fortunate to have such an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetable to choose from, but sometimes, it can get hard to tell them apart or know which is the best.
At Stemilt, we always label our fruit with the Stemilt name and signature mountain and ladybug (to the right.) Along with that, we use many other labels for our different brands and fruit varieties. That’s why we’d like to address the elephant (or sticker) in the room: How to read fruit labels to pick the best fruit?!
Commercial labels are used on Stemilt packaging to communicate with you when you shop for our apples, pears, cherries! We want to share what matters most to us and our commitment to you that our fruit is certified organic, farmworker assured, Bee Friendly, and how2recyled approved.
USDA Organic Seal
Stemilt labels all its organic packaging with the USDA Organic Seal. We put this seal on our organic produce because we meet the standards of growing fruit organically using practices that support cycling on-farm resources, promoting ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. To do this, we follow strict production, handling, and labeling standards and participate in an organic certification process. You’ll find the USDA Organic Seal on all our organic fruit along with the Stemilt Artisan Organics® brand.
EFI Responsibly Grown® Farmworker Assured
The EFI Responsibly Grown Farmworker Assured label represents Stemilt’s partnership and certification with Equitable Food Initiative. Being EFI certified means we’re continuously working together to increase transparency and assurance around farmworking conditions. When you purchase fruits or veggies with the EFI Responsibly Grown Farmworker Assured label, it’s coming from a place where worker voice leads continuous improvement and collaboration in the agriculture industry.
Bee Friendly Certification
To support the “buzziest” Stemilters in the orchard, Stemilt became Bee Friendly Farming (BFF) certified in 2021 to protect pollinators and enhance their living conditions before, during, and after fruit pollination. Without the bees, we don’t know where we’d “bee!” This label is a symbol of our commitment to supporting pollinators in our orchards by creating natural and sustainable habitats for our buzzing buddies.
You’ll find the How2Reycle label on Stemilt’s products which shares specific recycling instructions. This label will help you take the proper steps to recycling our products and other items with the same label.
Our (Stemilt) Labels
These labels are 100% owned by Stemilt including PLU stickers featuring our signature mountain and ladybug logo. By placing these on our fruits and packaging, you find out exactly where your fruit was grown and by who!
Organic & Conventional PLU Stickers
This is a PLU sticker and they are applied to our fruit during the packing process.
A PLU or price look-up sticker, is used at checkout that provide information about the apple you’re purchasing. On the sticker, you can find out the apple’s variety, growing location, and the brand your buying from. Fun fact: you can also see whether an apple is conventional or organic on PLU stickers. A 4-digit code means the apple was grown conventionally, a 5-digit code starting with the number 9 means it’s organic, like this one! You can also see where the apple was grown under the 5-digit code, the USA.
You can tell the difference between a conventional Stemilt PLU and an Artisan Organics® PLU by looking for the signature green/yellow color. Anytime you see this color sticker on a Stemilt piece of fruit, it’s 100% organic!
Stemilt’s founder, Tom Mathison, launched the program Responsible Choice® back in 1989. Today, this program stands for the responsible choice of stewarding an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible business. It aligns with our core values and three focus areas of people, the planet, and profits.
Other Labels to Look For
Some other labels you may find on while shopping for fruit promises the health, enjoyment and wellbeing of people and the planet we grow on.
This blue and green Fairtrade Mark is the seal of certification of the Fairtrade International’s rigorous Standards. When you see this label, it means you are investing in farmers and workers as they produce products that will improve their own lives and communities.
Certified Naturally Grown
Certified Naturally Grown offers peer-reviewed certification to farmers who produce food by working in harmony with nature and not relying on synthetic chemicals or GMOs. The standards that are followed within the certification are based on the highest ideals of the organic movement based on transparency.
The Non-GMO project is a nonprofit that ensures all our fruit abides by North America’s most rigorous certification for avoiding genetically modified foods.
Next time you’re buying fruit at the grocery store, check out the labels! We use our labels to share how and where the fruit you buy is grown, so we can help make the decision making process easy for you. We want to hear what you think! Let us know in the comments if this is something you already do, or, if it’s new practice to you!