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Would Knowing What The USDA Means By “Natural” Make For Smarter Meat Buying?

January 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
New research from Arizona State University shows that food shoppers not only misinterpret labels on food products, they’re willing to pay a premium price for a “natural” steak without really knowing the USDA’s explanation of the term: no artificial ingredients or added color and only minimally processed. The online study of 663 beef-eaters tested their willingness to pay for steak labeled with different attributes, such as natural, grass-fed, or raised without growth hormones. Half were given the definition of natural, half were not. Uninformed consumers were willing to pay $1.26 more per pound for the “natural” beef, and $2.43 more for natural beef with no growth hormone. Informed consumers, however, were unwilling to pay a premium for the “natural” claim alone, but were willing to pay $3.07 more per pound for steak labeled as natural with no growth hormones. [Image Credit: ©   Arizona State University]
Rebecca Ferriter, "Is 'Natural' Beef Label Misleading?", Arizona State University, January 04, 2018, © Arizona Board of Regents
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