Clean Label is a consumer-driven, global movement without a clear definition. At the heart of it, consumers want to know what ingredients are in – and not in – their favorite foods and beverages. They want to see a shorter product label that’s easy to read with ingredients they recognize. Ingredients need to deliver on a variety of fronts. In addition to nutritional and functional benefits, consumers want food that’s appealing… that looks, tastes and smells good. From some of our customer interactions, we discovered that ‘clean label’ means different things across the globe. Here are some regional differences:
- In developed countries in Europe and the Middle East, clean label can be perceived as a shorter ingredient list using more recognizable ingredients and fewer or no E-numbers.
- In many Latin American countries, sugar-free is important to consumers, as well as using “natural” ingredients. (Note: “Natural” does not have a clear definition either.)
- In the Asia Pacific region and China, a short ingredient list is preferable, as well as organic ingredients. The region is so vast that clean label perceptions can vary by country:
- In Japan, consumers are looking for more sugar-free and reduced sugar products, so taste and texture take precedence. Clean label can sometimes be perceived as a “nice to have” goal – especially if you can reduce costs by using fewer ingredients.
- Consumers in Australia and New Zealand tend to prefer products as close to nature as possible.
- In India, vegetarian and non-GMO products have always been essential so it’s not a differentiator.
- In North America, there’s an emphasis on non-GMO and organic ingredients. There’s also a social and sustainability aspect. Clean label is evolving to include an expectation for companies to support their local community, and use sustainably produced and sourced ingredients.