Cornucopia Report Says Natural Claims are Misleading Consumers

November 1, 2011

In the 50-page report, the group explores how major brands claim to be ‘natural,’ what consumers expect of the claim, and how brands have taken advantage of the confusion by hiking up prices of seemingly natural products to levels similar to certified organic products.

A Cornucopia Institute report on organic and natural food products alleges that cereal brands are intentionally blurring the lines between these two claims.

“To most consumers, petrochemical solvents, toxic pesticides, sewage sludge, genetically engineering ingredients, and fumigants are never considered ‘natural,’” said GrandyOats (Brownfield, ME), a certified organic company reporting on the topic. “Yet many cereal companies use these ingredients and routinely label their foods as ‘natural.’”

In the 50-page report, “Cereal Crimes: How ‘Natural’ Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label,” the Cornucopia Institute explores how major brands claim to be ‘natural,’ what consumers expect of the claim, and how brands have taken advantage of the confusion by hiking up prices of seemingly natural products to levels similar to certified organic products.

Popular brands highlighted in the report include Bear Naked (La Jolla, CA), Barbara’s (Clinton, MA), Back to Nature (Madison, WI) and Annie’s Homegrown (Berkeley, CA).

Our analysis reveals that ‘natural’ products-using conventional ingredients-often are priced higher than equivalent organic product,” said the Cornucopia Institute. “This suggests that some companies are taking advantage of consumer confusion.”