Hitting the Shelves: What is the Difference? -- August 2008
It is no secret that consumers, both in the U.S. and internationally, are looking for more natural products. For many manufacturers, more natural is equivalent to healthier, yet no significant scientific proof supports the conclusion. Manufacturers are jumping at the chance to serve this consumer demand, launching both specialty and mainstream new products that offer organic, all-natural, or preservative- and additive-free benefits. Many products offer a combination of the claims to further promote the naturalness of the offering. As illustrated through new product launches, manufacturers have dramatically increased their activity in the segment and their attention to its consumer base.
For manufacturers, what is most interesting about this consumer-driven, more-natural product demand is that consumers do not really understand the differences between organic, all-natural, and no additives or preservatives. In reality, particularly when looking at no additives or preservatives vs. all-natural claims, they often are used interchangeably. Organic positioning is the only claim dictated by government regulation. Thus, many manufacturers are able to enter or expand in this market with little to no changes in process or formulation. Success in the more-natural segment can really come simply from the right product positioning. Thus, for manufacturers, exploring this market could lead to major opportunities with minimal risk. For the foreseeable future, consumers are going to continue to demand this type of product, so there is both time and demand for new and existing manufacturers to enter the segment.