What does “natural” mean when it appears on a food label? A recent survey shows consumers really don’t know.
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Nevertheless, the survey, conducted by Consumer Reports, showed that consumers do want, and are willing to seek out, foods that are natural. Fifty-nine percent of consumers take time to look for the natural label, and those foods created a $40.7 billion market last year, according to Nielsen.

The survey showed that what consumers thought they were getting from “natural” meat and poultry was products from animals not given growth hormones (89 percent) or antibiotics and other drugs (81 percent), and animals whose feed did not contain genetically engineered organisms (85 percent) or artificial ingredients (85 percent).

But the natural label neither promises, nor has any bearing whatever on, any of those factors.