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Consumer Reports is out with a new study saying that "while 62% of shoppers seek out foods labeled ‘natural,’ the truth is that these foods often contain the artificial ingredients and chemicals consumers are trying to avoid." The magazine is advocating for, if not an outright ban of the term "natural," a system that defines it in a way "that is meaningful and meets consumer expectations - for processed foods that would mean organic with no artificial ingredients."

The study goes on to say that "nearly two-thirds of consumers are currently misled to believe the label means more than it does, including that these products are free of GMOs, hormones, pesticides, or artificial ingredients. And nearly half of consumers incorrectly believe that natural claims on labels have been independently verified."

The word "natural" means very specific things to consumers, Consumer Reports says. Eight-five percent of those polled said that it means "no chemicals were used during processing," while 84 percent said it means "no artificial ingredients or colors," an equal number said it means "no toxic pesticides," and 82 percent said it means "no GMOs."

Interestingly, 87% of shoppers who buy foods labeled ‘natural’ tell Consumer Reports that "they would pay more if the term met all of their expectations."
KC's View:
I've always thought that the way the word "natural" is used in the food industry often borders on the fraudulent. There are people and companies who are almost gleeful about the misconceptions and how they can help sales, but I think this is a serous miscalculation. If you deceive customers, in the long run it'll bit you in the rear end.