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Trends & Insights

Embracing clean and clear labels: Navigating the evolving food and beverage industry

Clean and clear labels, now industry standards, focus on natural ingredients and supply chain transparency. Embracing these labels meets consumer demands, enhances trust, and promotes sustainability, allowing informed choices and building loyalty.

Clean Clear 2024 800X600
Clean Clear 2024 800X600

An ever-evolving trend

Clean label foods and beverages have become the industry standard rather than the exception. As this trend continues to evolve, it presents ongoing opportunities for food manufacturers, ingredient companies, and investors to benefit.

Most food manufacturers are working to meet consumer expectations for more natural, clean label products. However, some find it challenging, especially since consumers themselves do not always use the term "clean label." Typically, companies focus on replacing artificial ingredients with natural ones to align with consumer preferences. While this is crucial, other aspects of the trend also need consideration.

Clean label: While there is no official definition of what “clean label” means, it generally refers to food and beverage products with short ingredient lists, familiar, natural-sounding ingredients, and no artificial additives.

Clear label: Clear labels are about supply chain transparency. This means a business knows what is happening at every stage of its supply chain and clearly communicates factual information about its operations, both internally and externally. This has also extended to encompass sustainability.

Sustainability: Food sustainability involves producing food in ways that protect the environment, use natural resources efficiently, support farmers, and improve the quality of life in food-producing communities. This concept addresses the imbalance between the resources used in our global food system and the output it generates.

New opportunities as opposed to challenges

By embracing clean and clear labels, companies can better meet consumer demands, making it easier for consumers to recognize certain ingredients, often by using simple language, along with transparency and sustainability, building trust and loyalty in the process. Ultimately, honesty is the best policy. Moving forward, it is not uncommon for consumers to develop ingredient-based food fears, or for specific foods, additives, or ingredients to fall out of favor with the public. While some concerns can be justified, others are unnecessary; they emerge because of the knowledge deficit between consumers and food developers, and consumers and policymakers. Thus, it is vital to equip consumers with simple language, allowing them to make informed choices and positioning the manufacturer as a credible source.

In following a clear label philosophy and sharing transparent and accurate information on the risks and benefits of foods and the ingredients they contain; the food industry and its policymakers have an opportunity to take ownership of the narrative. In this way, threats to products can be minimized and consumers are able to make informed choices based on individual preferences.

Infographic Clean Clear Label #1 V2
Source: Innova Health & Nutrition Survey 2023

Consumers determine the way

Clean label rose to prominence around 2017 and the trend has evolved constantly up until now. In the trends leading to the way things stand now, it is easy to see the rise in choices that promote clean label, transparency, and sustainability features

Infographic Clean Clear Label #2
Source: Innova Health & Nutrition Survey 2023, Innova Trends Survey 2023

We have you covered

Manufacturers of foods can gain some inspiration from Essentia’s wide variety of naturally derived clean label savory, nutritional, meat, dairy and pet food ingredients. Whether you are looking to clean up your label, enhance the flavor profile or up the nutritional value of your product, help is at hand. A wide selection of quality ingredients derived from upcycled animal-based raw materials can offer you the perfect solution to suit your brand needs.

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Partner with Essentia's experts to discover how our 100% natural, clean label ingredients can help elevate your brand. Our applications team will help create custom solutions tailored to your specific needs, ensuring you achieve your desired results. Connect with a representative in your area today.