An interesting survey from Consumer Reports recently caught my eye. It focused on a topic that Americans know little about – the fact that the word “natural” on our food labels means absolutely nothing.
The Consumer Reports National Research Center surveyed 1,000 Americans, finding that over 60% of them look for the term “natural” on foods because they think this means a food is better or healthier if it is plastered with a natural label.
- 2/3 of those questioned thought natural would mean a processed food would have no artificial ingredients, pesticides, or genetically modified (GM) ingredients (it doesn’t)
- 80% of respondents thought that natural should mean those things (but they don’t)
Despite widespread consumer interest in and skyrocketing expenditures devoted towards healthy eating, the FDA has not established a legally definable term for the word “natural”.
As a result, manufacturers use “natural” labels liberally on packaged and processed foods, which, if you think about it, are the very foods that are probably the least likely to emulate anything actually natural.
Consumer Reports is teaming up with TakePart and launching a campaign to ban the word “natural”. If you believe food manufacturers should not be allowed to mislead consumers with this blanket term, click here to sign their petition, which is part of the “Know Your Labels, Know Your Food” campaign.