This study aims to investigate the appeal of “natural” labeling and builds on past research which suggests that people may have a naïve pastoral view of nature and natural entities. “Natural” labeling is pervasive in supermarkets across the USA.
This paper employs a multi-method approach to examine consumer perceptions and beliefs about products labeled “natural”. Qualitative responses are solicited to examine the images and feelings that come to mind when consumers see “natural” labeling on a food product. Two experiments are conducted to examine consumers’ evaluations of “natural” labeling on both food and supplement products.
The results of three studies suggest that “natural” labeling evokes positive feelings and sentimental imagery associated with a pastoral view of nature. These perceptions reinforce beliefs that food and supplement products labeled “natural” possess positive instrumental benefits such as health advantages, lack of contamination and safety.
Consumers are under pressure to make better choices regarding what they put into their bodies due to pervasive concern over the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. This study provides insight into why consumers perceive food and supplement products labeled “natural” as better alternatives.
This paper is one of the first studies to investigate the underlying perceptual forces accounting for the effectiveness of “natural” food and supplement labeling.
Amos, C., Pentina, I., Hawkins, T.G. and Davis, N. (2014), "“Natural” labeling and consumers’ sentimental pastoral notion", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 23 No. 4/5, pp. 268-281. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-03-2014-0516Download as .RIS
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