A new report shows that including the word "natural" in your food labeling helps it sell better, despite the fact that the it is essentially meaningless in this context.
An article from The Washington Post detailed a Nielsen report on the sales of the top 35 health claims on food labels, including words like "organic", "fat free", "gluten free" and "natural". Of a total of $377 billion worth of sales analyzed by the research giant, labels that included the word natural on it sold $40.7 billion worth of product over the last year. The only category that bested natural was fat content at $64 billion, though the report admitted that light beers likely skewed that result.
Excluding fat content, natural beat all others by a wide margin, besting third place finisher, preservatives, by $12.7 billion.
Some of the labels on these packages are there for legitimate reasons. For instance, those suffering from celiac disease need to know which foods are gluten free, and those with a lactose intolerance must know which milk product is lactose free. What The Washington Post points out, however, is that some of these statements are made for purely marketing purposes, chief among them being the word "natural".
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for, among other things, monitoring marketing claims on foods to ensure they are truthful. To that end, they develop definitions for certain products or labeling claims. Surprisingly, they are indecisive on the world natural.
In their only statement on the subject, they said that it is difficult to define because various levels of food processing may occur, stripping the food of its natural qualities. They did say, however, that they take exception to foods labeled as being natural which contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.
If your products do not contain any of those additives, adding natural to your label may help increase sales. With color label printers, brands can take their marketing strategy into their own hands. Contact us today to learn more about our range of products.