Food manufacturers must pay more attention to the prevailing consumer definition of “natural” products, according to global food consulting firm Promar International.

The latest National Consumers League, says Promar, highlights how a better handle on consumer expectations can reveal new product possibilities and help companies avoid inadvertently over-promising or under-delivering to hard-won, easily lost customers.

Promar Vice President Don Westfall explains: “The findings of the National Consumers League survey illustrate the disconnect between what’s being presented as “natural” from companies in various industries, and how the average consumer interprets that claim.

“This is not to say companies are intentionally misleading people – although some may be – but rather that they should be aware of this knowledge gap.”

In the company’s study “The Concerned Consumer in the United States: Finding opportunities in anxiety”, Promar analyses the consumer unease and expectations regarding the foods they eat.

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It assesses five areas that trigger or address consumer anxiety, such as GM foods, organic foods and functional foods, as well as the issues that will continue to strike a chord with consumers and why.

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