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Organic Consumers Association

Consumers Still Confused About the Difference Between 'Natural' and Organic

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our The Myth of Natural page.


If you're looking to grab a consumer's attention then put "100 percent natural" or "Organic" or "Grown in the USA" on a food label. Or so it would seem. Those phrases lure shoppers, at least according to an annual survey of 1,013 U.S. consumers by Shelton Group, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based advertising and marketing agency.

Asked "Which is the best description to read on a food label?": 25 percent of consumers surveyed said "100 percent natural" or "All natural."  Another 24 percent said "USDA Certified Organic" or "100 percent organic," while 17 percent preferred "Grown in the USA" and 15 percent opted for "No artificial flavors or preservatives."

What's interesting? "Both 'natural' statements lost ground this year. Consumers preference seems to be shifting towards 'USDA Certified Organic'," the survey noted, which moved up 5 percentage points this year. Maybe, The Stew wonders, it's because the definition of "natural," sprinkled so liberally over food labels, is vague and varied. Even FDA and USDA definitions are different.


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