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NATURAL DRINK

A move toward improved health and nutrition has opened up a whole new arena of natural drink products to the consumer. According to the Natural Marketing Institute, 63 percent of US consumers trust natural foods and beverages over conventional ones. An aging and more diet conscious population has pushed the natural food market up into the $28 billion range according to a 2006 report by market researcher, Packaged Foods.

Natural drinks are purported to do everything from assisting with weight loss to curing certain diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure, to name a few. Many of these products can be obtained online as well as from brick and mortar stores. In the United States, food standards regulation calls for proper labeling on these products to identify them from the more traditional products.

For many, the term natural relates to products that are organic and contain little or no artificial ingredients. But how natural is natural? At the present time the Food and Drug Administration has not put forward any official definition for the term “natural”. Nevertheless, the agency does have a policy that “natural” products should contain no artificial or synthetic substances, including colors or flavors.

This lack of action by the FDA has resulted in lawsuits or threatened lawsuits for some suppliers who label their drinks natural. Soft drink manufacturer Snapple, maker of iced tea and juices, faced a lawsuit earlier this year from a consumer who claimed that the company’s labeling was misleading because their products contained HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), “a highly processed sugar substitute”. However, the lawsuit was dismissed on the grounds that the court had no power to determine whether the term “natural” should be used on a label, and that only the FDA had the authority to do so.

This led Cadbury Schweppes, manufacturer of 7UP to change its formula to one that contains “100 percent natural” ingredients. The company even went so far as to take out new ads showing cans of the drink being picked from trees. Capri Sun juices also came under fire because its drinks also contain HFCS and carry the “natural” label. The company has decided to change the term “natural” to one that says “no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.”

NATURAL DRINK

Despite the controversy over natural products, the industry is predicted to grow to well over $46 billion by 2010. This is partly due to the decision by leading retailing giant, Wal Mart, to increase its sales of these products. Also, many doctors and naturopaths are advising their clients to use these products, which many claim have given them the results they need. You can get the benefits of a natural drink by making your own bottled water at home and adding natural flavors like lemon and other fruit flavors from Allfreightfree.com.


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