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The “natural” label on your food is baloney

It’s nothing but a marketing ploy.

Liz Scheltens is a senior editorial producer for the Vox video team.

For the health-conscious among us, trips to the grocery store can be fraught. We want to buy what’s best, but there are almost too many choices. Food companies know this. So they use a meaningless word to guide our choices: "natural."

They put it on everything from chips to fruit snacks to cereal, and for good reason. The magazine Consumer Reports found that 62 percent of shoppers regularly look for "natural" labels when grocery shopping.

There’s just one problem: The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t define the word "natural," which means food companies can add artificial ingredients, preservatives, pesticides, and GMOs to their "natural" products. The same Consumer Reports survey found that the vast majority of shoppers had no idea this is the case.

Check out the video above to see how food companies profit from our misunderstanding.