Does 100% Natural Mean it’s Good For You? How To Label Your Products Accurately
Considering the recent global health crisis, many people are now shopping for food with nutrition and immunity in mind. Unfortunately, this trend has caused many brands to jump on the “all-natural” bandwagon to appeal to health-conscious consumers without actually making their products more nutritious.
Plus, 100% natural does not mean 100% healthy, and there are very loose definitions for the word “natural” regarding food labeling in the US.
What Does “Natural” Mean on Packaged Food Labels?
The FDA considers the term “natural” to mean that the food contains “nothing artificial or synthetic.” Plus, “natural” foods may not contain color additives. This broad definition does not consider the manufacturing methods or nutritional value and generally means the food contains:
- Natural ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, meat, fish, salt, whole spices, water, and anything else that occurs naturally on earth, and
- Natural flavors – substances that have been extracted, distilled, or derived from natural ingredients for the sole purpose of adding flavor to food.
Why “Natural” Does Not Always Mean “Healthy” on Food Labels
The FDA’s definition of “natural” only requires ingredients to come from natural sources and does not mention nutritional value. Therefore, some foods may be 100% natural but have no positive or detrimental health effects. For example, pure fruit juices often contain high sugar levels, and veggie chips give you nowhere near the same amount of vitamins and minerals as raw vegetables.
While adding “natural” to your food labels may once have worked as a marketing tactic, it has now become too vague to draw any real attention. Most shoppers don’t buy food based on its “naturalness” alone today.
Better Labeling Options for Natural Foods
Here are a few ways to accurately label natural food products to build consumer trust.
- 100% Organic – you must get organic certification from the USDA to use this label. It means your product contains only USDA-certified organic ingredients, including organic flavorings, preservatives, and other additives.
- Organic – you can display this term on your label if your product contains at least 95% USDA-certified organic ingredients. Your product may only contain non-organic ingredients from the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances.
- “Made with Organic…” – This label means 70% of your ingredients are certified-organic, and those that are not must appear on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. You can list the specific certified-organic ingredients on the front of the packaging.
- Non-GMO – You can use this label to indicate that your product contains less than 1% genetically modified organisms. You will need to obtain certification from the non-GMO project using one of its approved third-party certifiers.
- No artificial flavors – you can add this to your food labels to declare that you did not use any synthetically made flavoring ingredients in the product. This implies that the flavor consumer’s taste comes from actual spices, plant extracts, sugar, and salt.
- “Source of vitamin…” – Using this wording on your labels highlights your product’s nutritional value rather than its naturalness, which is more useful for many consumers. These claims are best if you’re using whole foods that retain their nutritional value in your products.
“100% Natural” doesn’t mean much on food labels, so getting third-party certifications or focusing on nutritional benefits may be a more powerful way to attract health-conscious consumers. Advanced Biotech is a leading supplier of EU-certified natural and USDA-certified organic flavorings, perfect for enhancing the taste of nutritious packaged foods. Please contact us for more information.