What is ‘Natural’? A Great Article from Abe’s Market

Here is a great article about the discussion over what is or is not ‘natural’
YesterYear Soap Company uses Abe’s Market as one of its online retailers.

We’ve been chatting about this very question a lot at Abe’s and have written up what we think it means below (this also lives on our site here). But we’re equally curious about what it means to you. So we’re asking everyone we know and will be posting their responses here, every week, starting next Monday. Know someone we should ask? Please suggest in comments.

But first, our thoughts.
What is natural? It’s a pretty straightforward question, yet in today’s world the answer is anything but. It should mean purer, safer, from the earth. But when it comes to products, it has been overused—and often misused. Which leaves those of us using the word responsibly in the lurch. Consumer trust of the word natural is at an all time low, especially as it has no government certification to back it up — unlike organic. It’s tricky.

At Abe’s we still believe in natural. We’ve had many lengthy staff discussions about the word and the upshot is: We’re not giving it up. We take the natural—ness of our natural products very seriously. And we value what people put on and in their bodies, as well as what they bring into their homes. We care deeply about the impact consumer products have on our shared environment. So when we use the word natural, it does mean purer, safer, from the earth. We think savvy shoppers can tell the difference between the real deal and marketing hype. And we’re always sharing what natural means when it comes to the products we sell—including what it means to our Sellers. We’re also here for you. If you have any questions about our truly natural products, please get in touch—either with us or with our Sellers directly. And please join the conversation about what natural means to you on our blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

How We Choose Products

We haven’t reinvented the wheel. But we have surrounded ourselves with an amazing group of experts, industry veterans, and consumer gurus. And we’ve delved into the latest science and manufacturing concerns. We’re well aware that due to a lack of government regulations regarding the word natural, it’s up to the consumer to figure out if any given product is up to the claim. There are several reputable associations with criteria offering natural product certifications in a few industries, and we look to them. We like some better than others. We suggest our Sellers consider these certifications, but we don’t require that they have them. We also talk to our Sellers and get to know how they operate. You can learn a lot from chatting one-on-one with the people behind the products. And then there’s our team of trained scouts and buyers who read literally thousands upon thousands of ingredient lists—item by item. Obsessively. All of this coupled with a tremendous dose of good common sense helps us arrive at what we do—and don’t—sell. If you find something lacking with our approach, or have any questions about our products, please get in touch. We’re eager for your comments.

You can visit Abe’s Market here.

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