People Are Buying More ‘Natural’ Foods Even Though They Have No Idea What They Are, Report Says

Staff Writer
Consumer Reports claims the number of people who buy food labeled ‘natural’ is growing, but they have no idea what the term mean
“Natural” is a term that helps you feel less guilty about your grocery choices.

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“Natural” is a term that helps you feel less guilty about your grocery choices.

“All-natural” is one of the most popular buzzwords that manufacturers use to make packaged food sound better, along with “fat-free” and “no added sugar.” But as we’ve reported in the past, “natural” is a word that essentially means nothing in the food and drink industry, because it’s not regulated by the FDA or USDA.

According to a new report from Consumer Reports, 62 percent of Americans are more likely to buy products labeled natural, and 45 percent think it’s a regulated claim. They are wrong.

"The problem with having all these misleading labels is it creates a lot of green noise in the marketplace," Urvashi Rangan, director of food safety for Consumer Reports told USA Today. "If we think about wanting better food-production systems, then we need to provide meaningful choice to people."

Researchers added that because consumers are more health-conscious these days, they zero in on healthy sounding words like “gluten-free” or “zero trans-fat” as indicators of healthfulness, when in reality, they mean nothing.

"From a food-science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is 'natural' because the food has probably been processed in some way," says Lauren Kotwicki, a spokeswoman for the FDA.  

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