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Exploring Expectations Beyond Natural and Organic

Consumers are moving beyond the terms 'organic' and 'natural' toward broader expectations of minimal processing and general healthfulness, according to a new report from The Hartman Group.

There has been increasing skepticism about foods labeled as natural, and increasing confusion about what natural  really means. Currently, the term is not regulated, although the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said recently that it is considering establishing a definition. Organic  foods on the other hand, must adhere to well-defined certification standards set by the USDA. But market researchers at The Hartman Group claim that consumers are now looking beyond these categories.

Senior associate at The Hartman Group David Wright told "It's safe to say that organic and natural are both really loaded terms for consumers. They have a lot to say about those terms, but they have a lot to say about other, related terms."

Related terms could include local, whole, fresh, safe, or nothing artificial, the market research organization said in its new report, Beyond Organic & Natural 2010.