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A descriptive pilot study of 'natural' in foods: regulations, manufacturers' claims and consumer expectations

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • Natural is a term that is unregulated in Australia, except generally in the Trade Practices Act. This study reviewed definitions in Australian and overseas regulations, surveyed ingredients used in foods marketed as natural; and examined consumer expectations. Internet searches on databases of food regulations were undertaken. Food labels at 12 food outlets were examined for ingredients used in foods marketed as natural. A questionnaire on perceptions of 25 natural ingredients was completed by clients of a weight loss clinic, and staff from 3 workplaces (n=116), and the topic was explored in one focus group (n=5) with general university staff. Survey data were analysed with descriptive statistics; qualitative data was analysed manually for key themes. Only the USA has a definition that is legally enforceable. Natural is used widely on foods: in brand names, and in ingredient or function claims. 686 different ingredients were found in 353 foods. Consumers are unsure about the naturalness of many ingredients. Over 60% agreed wholemeal flour, canola oil and vitamin C were appropriate, but more than 30% were unsure about gelatine, milk solids and honey powder. Consumers expected natural foods to be largely unprocessed and not fortified. Clearer definitions of natural would help manufacturers, but creating guidelines will be difficult given the lack of consumer consensus on the meaning.

UOW Authors


  •   Chachay, Veronique (external author)
  •   Markoska, Julijana (external author)
  •   Williams, Peter G. (external author)
  •   McMahon, Anne T.
  •   Grafenauer, Sara

Publication Date


  • 2008

Citation


  • Chachay, V., Markoska, J., Williams, P., McMahon, A. & Grafenauer, S. J. (2008). A descriptive pilot study of 'natural' in foods: regulations, manufacturers' claims and consumer expectations. In M. Riley (Eds.), Dietitians Association of Australia National Conference (pp. A28-A28). Australia: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://www.tourhosts.com.au/dietitians2008/program.asp

Start Page


  • A28

End Page


  • A28

Place Of Publication


  • Australia

Abstract


  • Natural is a term that is unregulated in Australia, except generally in the Trade Practices Act. This study reviewed definitions in Australian and overseas regulations, surveyed ingredients used in foods marketed as natural; and examined consumer expectations. Internet searches on databases of food regulations were undertaken. Food labels at 12 food outlets were examined for ingredients used in foods marketed as natural. A questionnaire on perceptions of 25 natural ingredients was completed by clients of a weight loss clinic, and staff from 3 workplaces (n=116), and the topic was explored in one focus group (n=5) with general university staff. Survey data were analysed with descriptive statistics; qualitative data was analysed manually for key themes. Only the USA has a definition that is legally enforceable. Natural is used widely on foods: in brand names, and in ingredient or function claims. 686 different ingredients were found in 353 foods. Consumers are unsure about the naturalness of many ingredients. Over 60% agreed wholemeal flour, canola oil and vitamin C were appropriate, but more than 30% were unsure about gelatine, milk solids and honey powder. Consumers expected natural foods to be largely unprocessed and not fortified. Clearer definitions of natural would help manufacturers, but creating guidelines will be difficult given the lack of consumer consensus on the meaning.

UOW Authors


  •   Chachay, Veronique (external author)
  •   Markoska, Julijana (external author)
  •   Williams, Peter G. (external author)
  •   McMahon, Anne T.
  •   Grafenauer, Sara

Publication Date


  • 2008

Citation


  • Chachay, V., Markoska, J., Williams, P., McMahon, A. & Grafenauer, S. J. (2008). A descriptive pilot study of 'natural' in foods: regulations, manufacturers' claims and consumer expectations. In M. Riley (Eds.), Dietitians Association of Australia National Conference (pp. A28-A28). Australia: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://www.tourhosts.com.au/dietitians2008/program.asp

Start Page


  • A28

End Page


  • A28

Place Of Publication


  • Australia