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The Wall Street Journal reports that "all natural" is losing its popularity as a claim made by food manufacturers, as companies deal with lawsuits that challenge the legitimacy of the claim - which, as it happens, means very little.

The story notes that "food labeled 'natural' raked in more than $40 billion in U.S. retail sales over the past 12 months. That is second only to food claiming to be low in fat, according to Nielsen. A survey last year by Mintel, another market research company, found 51% of Americans seek out 'all natural' when food shopping.

"The problem is, 'natural' has no clear meaning." The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no specific definition, though it sort of vaguely says that it means that nothing synthetic has been added. The story says that "only 22.1% of food products and 34% of beverage products launched in the U.S. during the first half of 2013 claimed to be 'natural,' down from 30.4% and 45.5%, respectively, in 2009 according to Datamonitor. Though many Americans still want natural products, Datamonitor says only 47% view the claims as trustworthy."

Details can be found here.
KC's View:
This is interesting because I was talking to someone just the other day who told me that he'd seen research suggesting that "local" was losing some steam, and was being supplanted by "natural," which seemed curious to me since "natural" is such an amorphous word when applied to food.

I have to admit that in my opinion, while "local" seems very important, the most critical quality for any food is, quite simply, "tastes great." Life is too short to eat stuff that doesn't taste good, and the older I get, the more I find that mediocre meals seem like an opportunity lost.