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Why The Word 'Pickle' Is Missing From Many Popular Brands' Labels

pickle on fork over jar
pickle on fork over jar - Kajakiki/Getty Images

Whether they are piled onto a burger, incorporated into a tuna salad, deep fried, or served alongside a pickleback shot, pickles bring a satisfying crunch and unique taste to any meal. If you regularly shop for jars of pickles, you may have noticed something strange in the way these preserved snacks are marketed: Many brands actually omit the word "pickle" from the packaging. While it might sound like the beginning of a grand conspiracy, the reasoning behind this is fairly straightforward. As it turns out, pickles are simply unmistakable.

The next time you are perusing the pickle aisle at your local grocery store, take a close look at the labels. Across brands, the labels may describe the flavor and preparation of the pickles inside (spears, chips, etc.) but never actually confirm that the contents are indeed pickles. In general, it seems that it has to do with making the most of the space on the label. When speaking to Today, a Mt. Olive spokesperson said, "Consumers can see that the jar contains pickles. ... Consequently, we use the front label to focus on the variety — the cut and flavor — of the pickle." This is a practice the brand has been employing since the '50s.

Read more: 27 Tips You Need When Cooking With Vegetables

You Don't Need A Label To Know It's A Pickle.

Hand holding Vlasic pickle jar
Hand holding Vlasic pickle jar - The Image Party/Shutterstock

The space-saving sentiment appears to be shared by other pickle makers. As reported by WGN9, Vlasic's brand manager Carolyn Goldberger explained, "We use the limited label space to clearly communicate the form and flavor inside each jar." With so many different types of pickles to choose from, this makes sense. Interestingly, this practice is not universal. Brands like Grillo's and McClure's include the word "pickle" on their packaging, and both Vlasic and Mt. Olive have "natural" product lines named "Purely Pickles" and "Simply Pickles" respectively.

The mystery of the missing labels created quite the pickle on TikTok and even inspired a new hashtag: #picklegate. Users on the platform generated a few theories as to why many pickles are referred to solely by their flavor and shape. One popular postulation was the idea that due to how they're made, some products aren't technically pickles, so they can't legally be labeled as such. However, other users seem to agree that because it is so obvious what's within a glass jar, there's no need for a "pickle" label, and there is no evidence to suggest that anything nefarious is afoot. As Vlasic's Carolyn Goldberger said in her statement to WGN9, "No matter the style, it's definitely a pickle!"

Read the original article on Tasting Table.