There is no standard definition for the word ‘natural‘, but that doesn’t mean society hasn’t developed one. As far as food goes, natural seems to equate with health, anti-pesticide and anti-chemical. This belief could not be more wrong.
When marketers add the word ‘natural’ to products, the value and power of those items skyrocket. Since there is no definition, does this mean marketers can label anything and everything as ‘natural’? Probably not. The Food and Drug Administration offers an explanation: in order to classify something as ‘natural’, it should not contain any artificial or synthetic components.
Taco Bell recently jumped on the ‘natural’ train with a slogan “Less is Más” referring to artificial additives. Companies like Pizza Hut, McDonalds, Panera and Subway have all modified recipes to appeal to the overly-critical consumer. Who knows…maybe using actual black pepper is better than black pepper flavour, if not just for the taste.
The argument over what is and isn’t natural certainly has a philosophical side, but for the sole purpose of consumer awareness, I’ll provide you with my personal opinion: anything that necessitates a ‘natural’ label probably isn’t your best food choice.
New York Times has a great article written by Michael Pollen called Why Natural Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore