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.