What is it and why does it matter?
A somewhat lose definition that implies unadulterated, non-industrial and free from antibiotics or chemicals in the growing or rearing of food.
There is a very consumer-led attribute that is all about what is natural and ‘free from …’. It sits firmly in the domain of consumers and also customers, with agenda setters not concerned about it. It is an important attribute to communicate to consumers, as they are looking to eat more natural, especially post-Covid.
There appears to be a natural spectrum where organic is seen as gold standard but failing that, delivering on natural and 'free from...' is still appreciated. It is important to note there is much debate about misleading labelling and marketing – it could be an important area not to be ‘caught out’ on if legislation tightens and consumers become more scrutinous.
Of consumers say the product being natural influences their grocery choice
Definition and Standards Battleground
SAFE food have pressed the European Commission to tighten up very lose claims around natural.
Sustainability leads within companies understand the high demand and focus consumers have for natural products either in their own right or as the next best thing to organic.
“you've seen certainly the rise in interest in natural and organic foods….where companies … are driving to simplify labels and reduce complexity of chemical ingredients and preservatives”
The key themes are:
- Health benefits (and broader wellness trend)
- Linked to chemical / additive free
- Boost from health concerns during COVID
- Clean labelling
Positively for Irish suppliers, we have a strong story to tell trade buyers, as they perceive a high association between Ireland and ‘natural’ produce with 57% agreeing that Irish suppliers produce natural food & drink.
Naturalness is the essence of what consumers are seeking from sustainable food and drink choices; no additives, chemicals and products that are unadulterated. As such, this is strongly associated with sustainability, it is one of the most influential drivers of choice, and it has the strong ability to command a premium. This is a widespread global belief. Communicating this, and associating it with Ireland's green landscape and sustainable production, is a strong story that can drive premiums globally. As it is linked to health, older consumers are more likely to look for more natural products.
63% of industry buyers agree that
Ireland's green landscape produces great food with natural taste
Review the headline insights from the Global Food Sustainability Outlook research.Review the Insights & Implications