October 13, 2015

Consumers See Little Difference Between Natural & Organic Labels

fresh-organic-foodAccording to a survey of 1,005 consumers, published by Natural & Organic Health Institution, there is confusion amongst consumers about the differences between organic-certified products and those that market themselves as ‘natural.’   The report found that nearly 1 in 3 consumers can’t speak to the difference between the two labels with nearly 3/4 of consumers believing that natural products, like organic products, must be free from synthetic additives.The FDA however actually has no legal definition for the phrase ‘natural’ which has given rise to increase use of the term by food marketers looking to cash in on consumers’ growing desire for more healthful eating.   Of course, for food producers who have spent the time and money to become certified organic, the lack of distinction between the organic and natural label from a consumer standpoint is a huge blow.

One question that has come up again and again is whether there should be a formal definition for ‘natural’ so that consumers would, hopefully, understand what their food does and doesn’t claim.  That is part of what Natural & Organic Health Institution is trying to do with the release of this report.

For small food producers, many of whom don’t adulterate their food products with chemicals , on the surface the idea of having formalized definitions for ‘natural’ could be seen as a win and help differentiate what they do from what larger food manufacturing companies do.   However, one concern is that with a formalized definition might come a testing or certification program, like the organic certification program, that may in unaffordable to small food businesses.

Related Articles: