Kashi cereal's 'natural' claims stir anger
We’ve written a lot here at Harvest Public Media about the loose interpretation of the term “natural” in marketing food products (Check out "Natural questions about meal labels.").
It’s an issue that can really get consumers riled. Case in point: USA Today reported this week that Kellogg is facing anger on social-media sites because of complaints that its popular Kashi brand of cold cereals doesn't live up to the company's "natural" billing on ads and boxes. From the story:
The controversy went viral a week ago after a Rhode Island grocer tacked a note to one of his store shelves, telling customers he wouldn't sell the cereal because he found out the brand used genetically engineered, non-organic ingredients. Photos of the note began popping up on Facebook pages and food blogs as some consumers claimed Kellogg was misrepresenting its cereal.
The soy in Kashi cereals comes from soybeans that have had a gene inserted to protect the soybeans from the herbicide Roundup, which kills weeds.
Kashi has done nothing wrong, says David DeSouza, Kashi general manager. "The FDA has chosen not to regulate the term 'natural,' " he says. The company defines natural as "food that's minimally processed, made with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners."
Still, some consumers say they felt duped into believing the cereal was organic and free from genetically modified ingredients because of Kellogg's use of the word on packaging and its website.
They've taken to the digital streets with their anger, posting on Kashi's own Facebook page, as well as the pages of several organic cereal makers and organic stores.
But Barbara Haumann of the Organic Trade Association in Brattleboro, Vt., tells USA Today that Kellogg is not misleading people. “Natural” just doesn’t mean “organic.”