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What’s your definition of natural?

When you see the phrase “natural* beef” what comes to mind?  Sometimes shopping at the meat case can be overwhelming. Have you ever felt that way? There are multiple labels and different claims being made—it is hard to know which ones are accurate. It can also be a challenge to understand what some of these claims mean—your definition of natural could be different than others.

We're here to help

Don’t worry—the team behind Open Prairie® Natural meats gets it and is ready to help. 

In 2017, the GNT Group conducted a study with 5,000 consumers from 10 different countries to see what natural really means to them.

  • 75% of consumers said natural means a food should contain no additives
  • 64% thought “natural” and “healthy” food is the same thing
  • 70% thought a product described as natural should be in its natural state, 100% pure, fresh or high in vitamins and minerals

USDA instructs that if the word natural is on a label, a statement explaining the meaning of the term, must be included.Click To Tweet

 

Which percentage do you fall in—how do you define natural?

According to the USDA, natural is a product containing no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimally processed? —Definitely a phrase that can make your ears perk up. USDA says minimally processed means the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product.

The USDA instructs that if the word natural is on a label, the statement explaining the meaning of the term (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”), must be included.

Why?

Because consumers need to be informed and brands must be transparent about their products.

Let’s take a break for a second and think about the meat you currently have in your fridge. Does it have a natural label? Awesome! Does that label have a statement explaining the meaning of natural? If you are unsure of how that brand defines natural, do believe the meat was worth the price you paid?

Last year, Arizona State University conducted a study that looked at consumer preferences for natural beef. They put a special emphasis on the word natural and how much consumers are willing to pay for products labeled as such. Half of their participants were given the formal USDA definition of natural, and the other half were not. The results showed those not given a definition were willing to pay $1.26 more for products with only a natural label. Participants that understood the definition of natural were not willing to pay more. They would, however, pay $3.07 more for meat that had both a natural and no growth hormones label (or another attribute).

 

What's your definition of natural? Learn what you need to look for when shopping for natural meat. Open Prairie.

 

So what does all this mean?

The study concluded consumers who are unfamiliar with the definition of natural overestimate the positive effects of natural production, and are willing to pay more. Those who understand the definition, will pay more if the label reads natural, plus another attribute such as no added hormones or no antibiotics ever.

The team behind Open Prairie® Natural meats understands the importance of being transparent and ensuring labels aren’t misleading. That is why all our beef and pork products feature this label:

 

Open Prairie Natural Pork LabelOpen Prairie Natural Beef Label

 

This straightforward, clean message informs consumers they aren’t only getting natural meat (with the disclaimer of what natural means), but also the no antibiotics ever and no added hormones guarantee.

Still confused about natural labeling? Comment below with your questions!

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