Consumers have faith in the organic labeling standards.

My take is that the more complex the production requirements, the more consumers seem to identify with the label. The rules for organic certification were literally created by act of Congress (7 U.S.C.S. 6501).  The USDA put out an entire handbook to assist growers to comply with all the organic rules. New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets provides grants to help defray the cost of obtaining organic certification. All of this time, effort and expense actually translates into consumer confidence in the process. It is a process they are increasingly willing to pay for.

What does “natural” mean in comparison? Iridium is natural.

By the way, if the idea of labels and certification appeals to you as a grower, you can always make up a perfectly credible one of your own. Several industries are already using contract law, trademark law and trademark licensing agreements to establish their own alternative quality or premium brand criteria. Kona Coffee, Idaho Potatoes, Florida Citrus have established collective brands for products originating within a designated region. Certified Angus Beef has created a premium brand within a entire breed of cattle using selection criteria for genetic and quality characteristics. California’s olive oil industry is steadily establishing its own standards for production and labeling. No need to wait around for another act of Congress.