What “Natural” Means to Consumers

What Natural Means to Consumers

Natural Products. All-natural. Naturally.

Surveys show that more than half of consumers seek out natural products with a natural food label. But there is no official U.S. government definition for the term “natural” when it comes to food labels.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated: “From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is ‘natural’ because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.” Not exactly a statement that makes things clearer.

A recent survey shows that two-thirds of consumers check ingredients before purchasing.

And it doesn’t damper consumers’ enthusiasm in seeking out “natural” products. Which means manufacturers must decide what the line is and hope it meets customers’ expectations. And as shoppers become savvier, the ingredient list has become as important as the big branding words on the front of the package. So, if a product has “natural” on the package, a long list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients could undo any benevolence a customer might have toward the brand. A recent survey shows that two-thirds of consumers check ingredients before purchasing.

In addition, there have been numerous lawsuits against food manufacturers, decrying the ability to use the term “natural” if a product contains ingredients that might be considered a little “less than natural.” Maltodextrin anyone?

And so food manufacturers are cleaning up their labels and purging the chemicals. Natural colors are in vogue for food producers, getting rid of those old standbys like Red 40 and Yellow 5 in favor of colors derived from sources like beets and turmeric.

We can help you clean up your labels. By using high pressure processing (HPP), shelf life can be increased naturally, without the addition of chemical additives or preservatives. To learn more about how HPP can help make labels cleaner, drop us a line!