Trust Us…..It’s Natural

by Vicki on February 14, 2014

How much do you think about your food?

Do you care about where your food comes from? How it is grown? How much it has been treated/processed (or not!)? Do you read labels?

Even if you care a lot about the food you eat and spend time trying to nourish yourself well, it should come as no surprise that big food industry has a vested interest in you continuing to buy products that are not so good for you.

You might be thinking, “I’m much savvier about the food I eat than I used to be. I can’t be led into eating foods that are bad for me without making a choice to do so.”

Enter the “natural” trend in food marketing.

“All-natural” and “natural” claims are among the most commonly used claims on new food products, and annual sales of products with “natural” claims are more than $20 billion.

But many products that claim to be “natural” are filled with stuff you couldn’t find in nature – including chemical additives, high fructose corn syrup and genetically engineered ingredients.

Recent studies show that many people believe that “natural” products are free of pesticides or genetically engineered ingredients.

And some people believe that “natural” food is better for the environment than organic food. In fact, one survey found that people are twice as likely to think that “natural” food is free of artificial ingredients.

So what exactly does “natural” mean when it comes to food advertising? Turns out…..it means nothing.

A clever (and really funny) new campaign to promote USDA certified organics helps consumers understand the difference between products labeled organic and those that are labeled as “natural.”

Here is the short version of the campaign.

If it strikes a chord with you, the longer version is also worth a watch.

And if you are an animal lover, here is one that targets the “natural” label on kibble bags.

Going forward, I’ll be doing a better job of keeping Eric Schlosser’s (Fast Food Nation) advice in mind as I navigate the grocery store –

If they have to put the word ‘natural’ on a box to convince you, it probably isn’t.

*Of course organic producers also want to sell their foods. To read about the standards they must meet to be certified as USDA organic, click here.

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