There were multiple opportunities for food manufacturers to use the term ‘natural’ on products in a bid to make consumers think something was healthier for them, Steve Osborn, business innovation manager at Leatherhead Food Research, said.
“They [manufacturers] see that natural is perceived as being healthier in some way and also there’s some perception [among consumers] that the food industry at large has been misleading them for a number of years by putting ingredients into their food that they don’t recognise,” Osborn told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
Food and drink firms could take advantage of this and there were no clear rules and regulations to stop this from happening, he added.
There was a reliance on guidance only, but guidance differed in each country and manufacturers should engage with consumers to help them understand what natural was, Osborn said.
Listen to the rest of this podcast to hear whether or not Osborn believes there should be legislation to govern natural labelling.
Meanwhile, Osborn led a debate at Health Ingredients Europe in Amsterdam last week on whether or not food and drink manufacturers were using the term natural correctly.