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MSNBC reports that while “there was a time when the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ conjured up images of bins of whole grains and uncooked beans, alongside a few pock-marked apples and some wheat germ,” thing have changed. A lot. “These days, the gleaming aisles of Whole Foods and other high-end and natural grocers offer organic alternatives for everything from mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese to chocolate cookies and pretzels.

“Consumers are gobbling up snacks such as natural colas and organic chips amid increasing overall interest in such foods. The fast-growing U.S. organic food industry accounted for $13.8 billion in sales in 2005, representing about 2.5 percent of total U.S. food sales, according to the Organic Trade Association. The group expects sales to rise another 14 percent in 2006, although exact figures haven't been tallied.”

Harry Balzer , vice president with the research firm NPD Group, says that one of the reasons for the growth is that the organic/natural trend actually allows people to add new products into their diets, as opposed to eliminating them.
KC's View:
However, as the story notes, consumers may not be paying attention to the whole story – because many of these organic and natural alternatives are no lower in fat or in calories than their non-organic or unnatural brethren. People may be putting fewer pesticides and preservatives into their bodies, but in many cases they aren’t going to be losing weight.

The question is, what does “healthier” really mean?