FDA's Decision Not to Define "Natural"

Published online: Jan 08, 2008 The Sugar Association
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Washington, DC - The Sugar Association is deeply disappointed with FDA's statement to Food Navigator January 4 that the Agency has no immediate plans to define the term "natural." "There are several things in this article that are of concern to us regarding their decision not to define natural at this time," stated Sugar Association President and CEO, Andy Briscoe. "First is the claim that it is not a consumer issue; second is the fact the Agency says consumer research is needed before it can make a ruling; and finally is the Agency's contradictory stance on the issue of natural over the years." Current market trends strongly contradict FDA's statement to Food Navigator, "we're not sure how high of an issue it is for consumers." Natural and organic products are the fastest growing categories in food manufacturing. The National Marketing Institute reported in 2004, that 63% of consumers have a preference for natural foods and beverages. In 2007 Mintel reported "All Natural" was the second most frequent claim made on food products launched in the U.S., appearing on 2,023 products and 405 beverages. This is also evidenced by the growing number of businesses catering to consumers wishing to purchase natural food products with sales for natural foods and health and wellness products reaching a reported $68 billion, up 8.5% from 2003 according to University of Minnesota College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. A 2006 survey conducted by Harris Interactive found consumers believe FDA should provide an official definition for making a "natural" claim. In a petition submitted to FDA, asking them to define the term "natural," the Sugar Association showed that 83% of the 1000 people surveyed said that the government should provide regulations to food manufacturers when making "natural" claims. For more information on the Sugar Association visit www.sugar.org