My mom was shocked.
"What do you mean this isn't natural? It says so right here on the box!?" Her gaze fell to her bowl of cereal, heartbroken. She felt duped.
Ever since my mom watched Food Inc., she's been hungry for more information. What's a GMO? Why should I eat organic? How do I cook tofu? (I've been a professional in the natural products industry for nearly five years, but it took a cinematic experience to change her eating habits? No hard feelings, I'm just glad she's finally tuning in.)
And so once again I found myself explaining an all too familiar conundrum. "Yes. I know it doesn't make sense, but just because the box claims that it's natural, doesn't mean it is actually natural. That's called good marketing."
I went on to explain that there are no regulations around the word "natural." And I advised that until she gets familiar with what's acceptable on ingredient lists she should only purchase items with the USDA Organic logo on it.
Sometimes it's easy for shoppers—like my mom—to get bogged down in the learning curve necessary to adjust to a healthier, more educated, purchasing pattern. So I was excited to find this organic cereal scorecard from the Cornucopia Institute. I've already emailed it to my mom; hopefully she finds it helpful!
Retailers, this organic cereal scorecard is a great education tool for your employees (break room reading material perhaps?).
Manufacturers, how do your products measure up to the Cornucopia Institute's scorecard?