Claims on food packaging can be confusing and misleading. A nutritional claim on a label can lead consumers to assume the product is superior to a product that has packaging that makes no claims.
One would assume that “all-natural” used on a product packaging would indicate that the product is healthy, free of artificial ingredients, and made without GMO’s. That assumption is false. Neither the FDA nor the Department of Agriculture have developed a definition, criteria, or requirements for the term “all-natural.”
The food industry sells almost $41 billion worth of food each year labeled with the word “natural,” according to data from Nielsen. Yet, because of no definition, criteria, or requirements, “all-natural” can mean whatever a manufacturer wants it to mean, regardless of how misleading the claim is.
What is certain is that many products touting the “all-natural” claim are, in reality, highly processed products. The dietitians at CONCI suggest using processed foods with caution and encourage focusing more on basic foods, especially plants (fruits and vegetables).
Fran Matteson, MS, RD