Many consumers are not only more health conscious but are also becoming more careful shoppers. While many consumers still don’t look at the label, a growing group is focused on natural food and beverage products with simple ingredients.
The Clean Label Trend
There is an increasing number of people opting for clean labels. A clean label is simplifying the list of ingredients in a particular food and beverage product. It is a guiding purchasing behavior for future consumers, but it is a challenging call for food manufacturers.
This particular trend follows the five-ingredient rule which means that products should contain fewer and more recognizable ingredients to become attractive to many consumers. As this trend has evolved over time, efforts have also been made by many food and beverage manufacturers to use simple ingredients, and ensure that the ingredients used are as natural as possible.
Natural Ingredients are Simple Ingredients in Consumer Minds
With a lot of food products marketed as containing natural ingredients, many consumers find it difficult to define what “natural ingredients” means. Unfortunately, many food products claiming to be natural either have legitimate claims or just use buzzwords. The agency responsible for the ingredients’ definitions is the Food and Drug Agency (FDA).
So what are natural ingredients? Food writer Michael Pollan defines such ingredients as those that consumers can easily pronounce and recognize. These ingredients should be as close to their natural form and should not be overly processed nor should they contain additives like dyes or artificial preservatives.
The Demand for Natural Food Products
Clean labels are very popular throughout the industry and the demand for simple ingredients is influencing the sales of many food and beverage products. Many believe this trend is the leading reason for the organic & natural foods industry projected growth to experience a 14% rise in its total sales by 2020.
Unfortunately, this trend has also produced a lot of confusion among the consumers. According to global consumer research firm Mintel, more than 37% of the consumers remains confused about the information indicated in food labels, while 38% are skeptical of the information provided by these companies.
The solution to this confusion is to uphold transparency within the food industry so that this trend will resonate with all consumers. But how do food companies maintain transparency? Aside from making food labels comprehensible by using simple language, companies must reformulate their products using natural ingredients. Instead of using artificial sweeteners, natural alternatives may be employed. Food manufacturing companies can also look into their packaging and opt for a more sustainable look, instead of using plastic or foil packs.
This trend provides a tremendous opportunity for brands to increase revenue but also to connect with consumers. The cherry on top is brands will be seen as more trustworthy if they adopt simple ingredients and create clean labels for their products.
Inspired by fooddive.com