The term 'natural' is often used on food labels, but is unregulated in Australia except for prohibitions on misleading and deceptive conduct in the Trade Practices Act. Definitions and regulations of 'natural' in Australia and internationally are reviewed. Ingredients used in foods marketed as natural are recorded from a survey of foods at 12 food outlets. Consumer expectations about which ingredients could be suitably called natural were examined with a questionnaire about 25 'natural' food ingredients using participants (119) from a weight loss clinic and three workplaces. Only the USA has a legally enforceable definition of 'natural' and in Australia there are three sets of different guidelines. Over 680 different ingredients were found in products with a 'natural' claim. Consumer perspectives varied on the suitability of many common ingredients with no real consensus. Consumer expectations about suitable ingredients do not always coincide with current guidelines. A clear definition is necessary to guide manufacturers, but may be difficult to develop, given the lack of consumer consensus.