Clean Labels – From Niche Trend to New Standard

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Clean Labels – From Niche Trend to New Standard

October 23
09:11 2015

Consumers have come to expect shorter and simpler ingredient lists despite the increasing complexity of foods and an ever-expanding range of ingredients used. Roughly 70 percent of European consumers state that they often or always read the claims on the front of the packaging, and 60 percent also look at the ingredient list and claims on the back. This has a significant influence on the consumers’ purchase decision, according to the findings of Ingredion’s Clean Label Guide to Europe, 2015. For food producers searching for possibilities to use ingredients in their products that will allow them to put a clean label on the packaging, this year’s Food ingredients Europe & Natural ingredients (Fi Europe) is exactly the right place to be. It is one of the issues which the industry’s biggest trade fair from December 1 to 3 in Paris will focus on in depth.

No longer a niche trend

According to Innova Market Insights, clean labelling is no longer merely a trend but has come to be regarded as standard by the industry. There are various reasons for this. Consumers are demanding shorter and more recognisable ingredient lists on the foods they buy. Producers are responding to this by incorporating as many natural ingredients as possible, which either do not need to be declared or which allow the products to be marked as “Free from artificial ingredients”. Their naturalness and origin are graphically highlighted on the packaging, making orientation easy and convenient for the end customer. According to Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights: “This demand for clean labels has now brought the need for clear labelling equally to the fore.” The result has been a move to clearer and simpler claims and packaging designed for maximum transparency. To accommodate this trend, the industry has found itself compelled to reformulate products and also to explore new avenues of communication.

Clean label not yet defined

In general, a ‘clean label’ signifies that certain ingredients are removed from the formulation. The advertising claim on the packaging reads: “Free from …” or “Without added …”. Often, what the labels are referring to is the fact that certain flavouring agents, particularly substances denoted by E numbers, as well as preservatives, artificial colouring or flavour enhancers, are not used.  Food producers are faced with the question of which clean label concepts they want to apply to their products and which are best suited, in addition there is no standard labelling application in the industry which creates further confusion for all stakeholders.

Fi Europe is the perfect trade-fair to address these requirements. Hundreds of ingredient suppliers exhibiting at Fi Europe will offer numerous solutions and ingredients that enable clean labelling for individual products or complete product ranges and ensure that quality standards are not compromised. In particular, this includes thermally stable ingredients that are suitable for baked products. Likewise, alternatives to preservatives, substitutes for artificial flavourings, or enzymes which can replace emulsifying agents, are only part of a plethora of options. Ingredion, for example, delivers a solution for high processing stability: “Ingredion’s NOVATION ENDURA 0100 starch withstands the extreme conditions of the manufacturing process of products like milk-based desserts, fruit preparations or pudding,” as Mona Rademacher, Ingredion’s European Marketing Manager, explains. Furthermore, customers can turn to the company for possibilities to replace cost-intensive ingredients such as fat or proteins with starch from the Clean Label Range.

Exhibitors like Ingredion, Roquette, Cargill, Brenntag, ADM, FrieslandCampina, DSM, and Naturex are well-represented at Fi Europe in Paris. In addition, the Fi Europe Conference – with more than 400 industry experts participating – provides a forum for debate on the current developments and challenges anticipated by the food industry in the wake of such trends as clean labelling. The experts from Innova and Ingredion will be there to address such challenges, including how clean label definitions, best practices for reformulations and enhanced communication strategies for foods and beverages that carry this label. Fi Europe will open its doors to over 26,000 food and beverage professionals wishing to meet with over 1400 ingredients suppliers in Paris from the 1-3 December 2015.

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