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Isn’t food labelled ‘natural’ basically the same as organic?

Isn’t food labelled ‘natural’ basically the same as organic?


We’ve all bought, or at least heard of organic food, and how it’s worth the higher price tag because it’s much better for your health and the environment. You can generally take it for granted that food labelled ‘organic’ has been grown and processed without toxic pesticides, antibiotics, artificial growth hormones, GMOs and so on. Sounds great, right? That’s why we shell out our extra pennies at supermarkets, or wend our way to the farmer’s market every weekend we can.

But isn’t ‘natural’ food the same as ‘organic’ food?

The answer is a resounding ‘NOPE’.

This is a very common misconception, so we’ve decided to spell out the difference for you.

There is NO formal set of farming and production practices that are required to be followed for a product to be labelled ‘natural’. That label is slapped on entirely at the manufacturer’s discretion, and is more a reflection of marketing tactics than actual standards, sadly. Since most people have a fuzzy idea that artificial stuff is bad for them, the word ‘natural’ on a bottle goes a long way towards deciding what goes into our shopping baskets to make up for all those sweets and pop.

This means that supposedly ‘natural’ foods could be chock full of food colouring and preservatives, or even the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup – after all, isn’t corn a ‘natural’ ingredient?! They could be GM foods or grown within a mist of pesticides and antibiotics, and we’d never know.


This is not to say that food labelled ‘natural’ is worse than any of the other items on the supermarket shelf. They’re just misleading, as they make you think they’re much better for you than they are. People often buy them thinking they’re better than other products, or worse, organic – and manufacturers know this very well.

So if you’ve been trying to shop healthier by buying organic, be warned! Don’t be fooled by ‘natural’ foods.

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