Defining Clean Label

Craig Baumer
Director of Applications

The number of products launched in 2015 containing a claim of at least one of the following: Natural, Non-GMO or OrganicClean Label – These two words mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. There is no one definition of "clean label." Although there is no official definition of Clean Label, the term tends to be closely associated with Nature, Simplicity, and Transparency. Some define it as "ingredients I can pronounce," "minimal and familiar ingredients," and still others have gone so far to develop a "Do not Use Ingredient List." Regardless of your definition, this topic remains highly debated in the Food Industry.

Given the lack of a governmental definition, which is partly to blame for the much debated topic, the term, Natural, is also a sticky subject. Actually, there have been some lawsuits resulting for companies using the term "Natural" defined as they see fit. These lawsuits have resulted in an increase in the "Clean Label" movement.

This movement continues from 2015 into 2016 as consumers view foods with clean labels as healthier and typically the foods must be less processed. Young consumers are much more familiar with the concept of clean label, and have defined it for themselves, whereas the older generation is very confused. According to some studies, it shows that 47% women and 42% of men do not know what the term clean label means. (Source: Canadean's global survey, Q4 2015.) Also, check out the significant number of new products launched in 2015 in some of our key markets contain a "Natural," "Organic" or "Non-GMO" claim (see chart at right).

How consumers are eating now

The latest health craze includes eating foods that contain fewer processed ingredients, which certainly clean label ingredients will help food companies meet consumer needs.

Clean label ingredients are also associated with items that are Organic, Non-GMO, Allergen Free, and free of growth hormones, however, all of these other items have definitions and guidelines of their own accord that the food or ingredients must adhere. Definitely at times it can be confusing and difficult for Product Developers in the Food Industry. Clean label food is also perceived as more nutritious, which may or may not be true.

April 2016 Clean Label Conference (in Chicago)

Many topics were discussed at the recent Clean Label Conference put on by Global Food Forums in Chicago area earlier this month. About 300 attendees met and listen to speakers discuss the topic of Clean Label and the impact a variety of areas within the Food Industry.

Some products are just not possible to produce without using fewer ingredients. However, eliminating unnecessary ingredients from the ingredient legend by getting synergy between ingredients is the step in the right direction. Some companies are working to review ingredient legends, and working to include multipurpose ingredients. Consumers perceive products with fewer ingredients to be cleaner than products with more ingredients. This 'reduction in ingredients' list is being worked on in Product Development departments in most companies. Also, chefs at some restaurants or companies are looking at using more locally grown ingredients and multipurpose ingredients in the dishes that they are creating. All these activities are supporting the Clean Label initiative.

Smoothie and grains imageWe can help formulate for your definition of clean label

Long story short: our definition of clean label is our customers definition clean label. We are here to provide solutions for your products.

Here are a few examples of how we've done that:

  • Upon customer requests, we've removed of artificial flavors and colors and have replaced them with natural flavors and colors in our bases for beverage and frozen desserts.
  • We have also worked on eliminating non-essential ingredients so as to shorten the ingredient legend of a particular product. We have replaced some ingredients in our products as requested by the customer, for instance; the replacement of SiO2 with a cleaner label flow aid, or the removal of the ingredient all together. We are also working to reformulate many of our creamer products to be PHO-free, as our entire line of bakery inclusions already are.

Download these resources for mor information on our Clean Label Products:

These projects happen as customers ask for a cleaner label product, and we're always here to help formulate the ingredients you need for your finished applications.

How do you define Clean Label?

If you find yourself needing to move towards Clean Label products, contact your SensoryEffects Salesperson, so that our Product Development Group can develop a Clean label value-added solution for your finished applications.

Questions? Contact Me:

Craig Baumer Director of Applications

Contact a Representative