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'Natural' Food Label Brings Skepticism

June 27, 1985|United Press International

DES MOINES, Iowa — Consumers will choose food products labeled "natural" over those which are not, but a majority have become more skeptical about the label, according to a recent poll of Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscribers.

The magazine, which surveyed 500 readers, found that 79.7% would pick the food tagged "natural" over a product similar in taste but lacking the label. Nearly 55%, however, felt more skeptical about "natural" food than they did five years ago.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said the term 100% natural is an important buying influence, and 68% have found the term more important in the last five years.

Yet only 22% believed food is "natural" if so labeled, with 40% rejecting such claims and 37% being unsure.

Behind this confusion may lie the fact that those polled held no consensus as to what natural means.

The accepted definitions were negative: Food with no artificial ingredients, flavors, colors or added chemicals was seen as natural by a majority. Only 11% defined natural food as organic.

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