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.
As you can see, there are many ways to achieve a clean label. That presents plenty of reformulation opportunities for manufacturers – along with some big challenges. How do you create products that don’t compromise on taste and texture?
Clean label and Functionality Go Together
It is possible to deliver clean label benefits and the functional requirements needed to meet consumer expectations:
One answer lies in a next-generation ingredient solution that is differentiated by its composition and process. NUTRAVA® Citrus Fiber contributes to the daily fiber intake with soluble and insoluble fiber. It is derived from an abundant, nature-based supply of raw material, the fresh citrus peel byproduct of the juicing industry. Citrus peel naturally has a high pectin content and, with our patented process, we’ve found a way to retain more of it. NUTRAVA® Citrus Fiber is considered a food ingredient in Europe with no E-number.
In condiments such as mayonnaise and dressings, it’s been difficult to create vegan and low-fat versions that can deliver on taste and texture without egg. NUTRAVA® Citrus Fiber makes it possible to stabilize oil-in-water emulsions and attain the texture and desired mouthfeel, while using standard manufacturing processes. Moreover, mayonnaise-like dressing produced with NUTRAVA® Citrus Fiber remains stable in macaroni and potato salads. It will not liquify.
From fruit-flavored drinks to dairy alternative beverages and yogurts, CP Kelco offers a variety of nature-based solutions to help you reduce sugar content. The challenge often lies in creating that full-bodied mouthfeel while adding viscosity. We can suggest vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free grades of ingredients such as GENU® Pectin and KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum, plus other nature-based ingredients suitable for short and long shelf life products.
For more tips, see our infographic for 7 ways to clean up your label.