The following content originally appeared in issue 135 of Beverage Innovation, which you can subscribe to here.
Demand for clean label and natural products continues apace. In fact, fuelled by developments in communication and social media, the trend is extending to see natural equate to healthy as Beverage Innovation discovers.
In order to examine the clean label trend, colouring foodstuffs expert GNT conducted a comprehensive survey among 5,000 consumers in Europe, Asia and America. It discovered that people have an increasingly critical attitude towards additives as GNT head of group marketing Guido de Jager explains.
What is driving the trend towards clean label?
In spite of the fact that the term is not defined consistently, consumers consider clean labels to guarantee that food and beverages are free from artificial additives. They should offer short, understandable ingredient lists, which provide precise information about origin and use of the ingredients. Natural, familiar ingredients ensure a good feeling and have a positive influence on purchase decisions. They look for alternatives to colourants and E-numbers when shopping for groceries. More than two thirds thoroughly check ingredient lists, to make sure that products fulfil their expectations. 67% want easy to understand ingredient information.
The need for clear label solutions is also driven by regulations. Just recently the Gulf Cooperation Council, for example, published a legislation on the colours Allura Red AC, Sunset Yellow, Azorubine and Tartrazine in order to dovetail better with international standards. All these underline the importance for manufacturers of taking clean label solutions into account.
How does this trend differ from country to country?
In Asia and South America, 60% of consumers are aware of healthy nutrition, but do not have time to investigate ingredients thoroughly. For more than half of the consumers in Europe and the US it’s particularly important that food can be prepared quickly and conveniently. For both groups, easy to understand and transparent ingredient information is key.
How has consumer understanding of natural/clean label changed over recent years?
When people see the term ‘clean label’, they expect natural food and beverages without any artificial additives. Our study reveals that 64% will put ‘natural’ on the same level as ‘healthy’. Consequently, products with natural ingredients are considered to be healthier than those with artificial additives. This trend has been increasing in recent years. Today’s consumers are well informed. When it comes to food colours, they have a clear definition of ‘naturalness’ in mind: nearly 50% expect natural food colourings to originate solely from edible raw materials such as fruit and vegetables.
Colouring Foods fully meet consumer demands and are ideally suited for the production of clean label beverages. They are exclusively made from fruit, vegetables and edible plants. On the packaging, they can therefore be declared as, ‘Colouring Food (concentrate of pumpkin, carrots)’, for example. No solvents or chemicals are used. They are pure food – the epitome of clean label. Manufacturers can benefit from a clear communication of the use of truly natural colours: Credible claims like ‘coloured with fruit and vegetables’ give producers the potential to increase brand preference even when a price increase is applied.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2017