Consumers just aren’t “buying” those all natural labels. Oh, they may still be purchasing the product, but they’re pretty skeptical that a product labeled natural is really worthy of the term.
In a just-released MamboTrack survey, one in 3 natural and organic consumers (34%) were either “not very” or “not at all” confident in current natural labeling. Two in three (65%) were very interested in a uniform standard to certify products that are labeled as natural. Another one in 4 (25%) were somewhat interested.
Unlike organics, which operate under clear government regulations, the market has been slow to pick up on standards for natural products. This is particularly irksome when it comes to personal care and home cleaning products that don’t qualify for the USDA organic certification.
The question, of course, is just what does natural mean? According to the Natural Products Association (NPA), an industry group that has, in fact, developed certification standards, the term should apply to both ingredients and processes:
In: Manufacturing processes like saponification, hydrogenation, and sulfation.
Out: Ingredients such as propylene glycol, parabens, and sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate
Now, you see why even ingredient-reading consumers could use a little help? (The NPA certifications also require a product to use biodegradable ingredients and environmentally sensitive packaging).
Unfortunately, with only 24 personal care marketers using the NPA certification so far, the movement hasn’t reached the critical mass it needs for real consumer awareness.
And worse yet, consumers may not even want an industry-driven standard. According to our study, consumers were most likely to prefer natural labeling certification by an independent non-profit industry organization (33%) and/or a U.S. government standard (27%). Respondents were less interested in an industry/company supported standard (23%) or retailer certification (18%).
At Mambo Sprouts, we only work with legitimate natural producers. But plenty of manufacturers are manipulating the term.
For retailers, the real concern — from a legal perspective — is that you’re careful not to promote any natural products as if they were organic. Your customers are skeptical enough already.
[Photo credit: Sweetbody44]