Survey Says … You’re Being Deceived

By Delci Winders

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Meat that comes from animals who spent their entire lives in conditions like this can be labeled as “natural.”

When you see the word “natural” on a meat or poultry product, what does that mean to you? If you’re like approximately half of the likely voters surveyed by Zogby on behalf of Farm Sanctuary, you believe that meat labeled as “natural” comes from animals who were raised with free access to outdoor areas where they were able exercise and move about. And if you’re like nearly three-quarters of those surveyed, you believe that it is inappropriate for meat from animals who are kept indoors, crowded into cages and forced to stand on metal or concrete floors to be labeled as “natural.”

Based on their beliefs about what “natural” signifies, many consumers are forking over lots of money for products with this label. According to market researchers, “natural” is the leading labeling claim on new products, and according to this Chicago Tribune article, between 2007 and 2008, the natural foods market grew by 10 percent, reaching 12.9 billion dollars.

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