DailyDirt: All Natural Doesn't Necessarily Mean Good For You…

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

A growing trend in food packaging seems to be using the words “all natural” to describe ingredients. This is meant to be an improvement over the previous “completely artificial” ingredients that have been used for decades. However, as some point out, the use of natural ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean what consumers might think it means. Starbucks found out that “natural” might not satisfy all of its customers when it switched from Red #40 to a natural food coloring made from crushed insects. Those crushed insects aren’t harmful, but that’s not exactly what folks were expecting from a “natural” ingredient, either.

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Companies: chipotle, pizza hut, starbucks, taco bell, yum brands

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Comments on “DailyDirt: All Natural Doesn't Necessarily Mean Good For You…”

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nasch (profile) says:

Re: "natural black pepper flavor"?

Me, I want to know what the difference is between “natural black pepper flavor” and “natural black pepper”. Or even just “black pepper”.

My understanding is that “natural X flavor” means a chemical extracted from the plant, perhaps piperine in the case of black pepper, and “artificial X flavor” could be the exact same chemical but produced artificially by some means (no idea how) rather than extracted from the plant. I think in the UK they are or used to be referred to as “natural” and “nature-identical”. I don’t know if there’s some specific requirement for the entire peppercorn to be included for the ingredient to be called “black pepper”.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: "natural black pepper flavor"?

Black pepper means that black pepper was used. “Natural black pepper” means mostly the same thing (in the US, “natural” on food labels has a greatly ambiguous meaning and its presence in describing food or ingredients should be ignored). “black pepper flavor” means a flavor that tastes like, but isn’t, black pepper.

madasahatter (profile) says:


There is a little appreciated point about this debate: many chemicals in food have what chemists call stereoisomers. They have the same chemical components but in 3-d the structures are either left or right handed. This handedness may or may not be important; Thalidomide is a drug where one stereoisomer causes birth defects and the other is a useful drug. However this does not necessarily have anything to do with artificial or natural.

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