Consumers Seek out ‘Natural’, ‘Locally Grown’ on Product Labels: Survey

When shopping for food, two-thirds of US consumers look for "locally grown" on labels, while 59% check to see if the products they're buying are natural, according to a survey from Consumer Reports National Research Center.

June 25, 2014 | Source: Food Navigator-USA | by Maggie Hennessy

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s All About Organics page, Myth of Natural page and our CAFO’s vs. Free Range page.

While a majority of people think that the “natural” label actually carries specific benefits, an even greater percentage of consumers think it should.

More than eight out of 10 said they believe that packaged foods carrying the “natural” label should come from food that contains ingredients grown without pesticides (86%), do not include artificial ingredients (87%), and do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)(85%), according to the Opinion Research Corp. survey of 1,004 adult US residents conducted in April.

Consumers willing to pay more for some environmental, social and safety claims

Other Keywords consumers look for on labels? “No arificial growth hormones” (50%), “pesticide free” (49%), “organic” (49%), “no artificial ingredients” (48%), “non-GMO” (40%), “raised without antibiotics” (39%), “humane” (35%), and “fair trade” (31%).

Indeed, the poll showed that a range of environmental, safety, and social concerns are important to most US consumers when purchasing food, including supporting local farmers (92%), protecting the environment from chemicals (89%), reducing exposure to pesticides (87%), fair conditions for workers (86%) good living conditions for animals (80%), and reducing antibiotic use in food (78%).

The results further demonstrated that consumers are willing to pay a premium for certain label claims. For example, about 80% said they will pay more for fruits and vegetables produced by workers under fair wage and working conditions; and about one-third said they’d even pay 50 cents or more per pound.