A new national consumer poll released by Instantly™ found that artificial ingredients in food products are a top concern for Americans and many do not trust large companies to produce all-natural alternatives.

According to the study, 75 percent of Americans said that when it comes to producing all-natural products, they trust small, independent companies over large, established ones. Consumers also associate natural foods brands with independent ownership. Seventy-percent believe that most natural foods brands are independent, while 30 percent believe they are owned by large companies.

"The perception among consumers is that natural foods are the domain of independent brands and larger corporations don't have this specialty," said Andy Jolls, chief marketing officer at Instantly. "But with the mergers and acquisitions in the consumer packaged goods industry, the reality is that many food brands are owned by a handful of big companies. As demand for natural foods and ingredients rises, marketers need to be mindful about both the risks and opportunities that exist and position their brands carefully so as not damage consumer trust."

The study also indicates that Americans are keenly aware of what goes into food products. Seventy-seven percent say they review ingredients labels before making a purchase, and an overwhelming 82 percent believe foods with artificial ingredients are less healthy than those with all-natural substitutes.

The study shows that even in traditionally unhealthy categories, like snacks or frozen pizza, many people believe products will be healthier when artificial ingredients are removed. If a brand replaces artificial flavors with all-natural substitutes, 79 percent of consumers would have a more positive perception of that brand and 75 percent would be more likely to purchase its products.