Green Consumers Skeptical of ‘Natural’ Label

Eco-consumers are as committed as ever to shopping organic in 2011, but they’re not buying those all-natural product labels.

That’s according to a survey by Mambo Sprouts Marketing, the leader in natural and organic product marketing and promotions. The company surveyed the organic buying habits of 1,000 natural-product consumers to get an outlook for the coming year.

Health and natural consumers were not confident that products labeled “natural” truly held up to the word. One in three (34 percent) were either “not very” or “not at all” confident in current natural labeling. Two in three (65 percent) were very interested in a uniform standard to certify natural products – including ingredients and processes – that are labeled as natural. Another one in four (25 percent) were somewhat interested.

Notably, natural and organic consumers were most likely to prefer natural labeling certification by an independent, non-profit organization (33 percent) or a government standard (27 percent). Respondents were less interested in an industry/company supported standard (23 percent) or retailer certification (18 percent).

Other key findings revealed a growing interest in mobile and digital coupon promotions. Consumer use of cell phone/mobile coupons is forecast to grow from 11 percent in 2010 to 31 percent in 2011. Online printable coupons, already popular, also saw gains from 90 to 96 percent.

Consumer interest in technology and store location-based coupons is expected to continue, with one in two consumers planning to use more online printable coupons (56 percent), cell phone/mobile coupons (46 percent) and in-store coupons (45 percent) in the coming year.

Karen Herther, director of MamboTrack Research, said savvy consumers will continue to utilize recession-era saving strategies to stretch their healthy organic food dollars. “Consumers remain cost conscious, and coupon use has become the new normal,” she said. “The growing acceptance of online and digital mobile coupon promotions signals this savings trend is here to stay.”

In all, consumers are committed to health and wellness and the outlook for organics remains strong. Store brand/private label organics are now mainstream with virtually all (96 percent) consumers buying these products; 57 percent plan to maintain and four in 10 (39 percent) will increase spending in 2011.

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