In recent years, use of the term “natural” to describe products and ingredients has multiplied. This has led to difficulties, as new natural materials have been required to replace synthetic ingredients, with varying degrees of success. A lack of regulation also means there is uncertainty regarding what “natural” actually is. This report considers the difficulty of using natural claims and explores how specific ingredient categories have adapted to fit the natural trend.
The huge desire for natural products shows no sign of abating, with consumers paying more attention to product labels and showing a preference for those that use natural ingredients. There is a clear mistrust of artificial additives and chemicals.
Manufacturers are currently able to use their own discretion when describing a product as natural. Consequently, there is no conclusive idea of what the term “natural” means and what it should and should not include. The lack of clear definition is causing confusion and harming the believability of natural claims.
Some ingredient types, such as polysaccharides and oligosaccharides, can comfortably integrate into the natural trend, as several of the ingredients traditionally used are considered natural. For others, such as preservatives and antioxidants, breaking into the natural trend is difficult as there are few existing natural options and potential replacements cannot provide the same efficacy as their artificial predecessors.
Ingredient manufacturers are looking to overcome the difficulty in replacing artificial ingredients by developing new solutions with a basis in nature. This has led to new raw materials, such as stevia, being used in food products while others, including many botanicals are repurposed.
As consumer demand has grown, numerous natural products have been released to take advantage. This has meant existing products have had to reformulate to keep up or else risk being shunned by consumers.
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