06 Sep '12, 3pm

Is the ‘natural’ label 100% misleading? Here's what it really means (and doesn't)

What do Juicy Juice fruit punch, Tyson chicken, and Nature Valley granola bars have in common? They’re all branded with the same mysterious, ubiquitous term: natural. The natural label’s takeover is not just anecdotal. In 2008, Mintel’s Global New Products Database found that “all-natural” was the second most used claim on new American food products. And a recent study by the Shelton Group [PDF], an advertising company focusing on sustainability, found that it’s also the most popular. When asked, “Which is the best description to read on a food label?” 25 percent of consumers answered, “100 percent natural.” So what does natural mean? Well, that depends on who you’re asking. A salesperson in the meat department at Shoprite in Chester, N.Y., told me that Tyson’s all natural chicken is “basically the same thing” as organic. At General Mills, 100 percent natural means “that a...

Full article: http://grist.org/food/is-the-natural-label-100-percent-mi...

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