Clean label in convenience: an opportunity that goes beyond the label

The demand for clean label products has become a leading trend in recent years, as consumers seek foods with simple, wholesome ingredients they know and trust. However, there isn’t one accepted definition of clean-label and the meaning of the term is evolving in line with consumers’ increasingly complex expectations

“Roughly one third of consumers are looking to avoid food or drink that contains artificial ingredients, and a big driver of the clean label trend is catering to this growing market," reports Kerstin Werner, Senior Marketing Manager for Soups, Sauces and Dressings, EMEA at Tate & Lyle.

"To meet this, manufacturers have traditionally focused on creating simpler and shorter ingredient lists, which contain fewer additives and synthetic ingredients, with ingredient names that consumers know and understand."

“We are now seeing a notable shift towards products that are perceived as inherently ‘natural’ and include claims such as ‘no additives or preservatives’ or ‘organic’. Natural claims are now among the main drivers of consumer perceptions that products are 'better for you.' As a result, these claims are likely to become more and more prevalent on front-of-pack during the next few years."

“Authenticity, traceability and quality are some of the other key motivations for consumers when purchasing food. Clean label is now evolving to encompass much more than the label and the ingredient list, with a focus on the product as a whole, including sourcing, production, ingredients and packaging."

"There is an increasing tendency to consider origin, environmental impact and plant-based credentials, so it is key for manufacturers to look at their supply chain and think of how they can best meet this holistic definition of ‘clean label’, while continuing to deliver consumer satisfaction."

“There are also geographic variations to consider. The demand for clean label claims is highest in North America and Western Europe and continues to grow significantly in both regions. However, we are also beginning to see an increase in demand across emerging markets, such as Latin America (+13%) and the Middle East & Africa (+8%)."

"This presents a growing opportunity for manufacturers in these areas, so it is important that they understand the nuances in consumer demands and are prepared to make the most of this."

Demand for clean label in convenience

“There is growing consumer interest for clean label across a range of categories, but some of the greatest demand for this is in the convenience food sector. These are often staple foods for consumers and therefore have to maintain quality during a long shelf-life, which is often challenging without the use of a long list of additional artificial ingredients.

A range of solutions exist to help provide manufacturers with solutions to ensure that products retain their freshness for a long period of time, while maintaining as clean a label as possible. These include Tate & Lyle’s extensive range of starches, emulsifiers and fibres.

“Although consumers are increasingly demanding more clean label products, we also know that they are not prepared to compromise on the quality of the final product. Although the ingredients are an important factor, taste is still the dominant factor impacting buying behaviour."

"We’ve helped manufacturers to meet the challenges of delivering clean label table sauces, condiments and dressings. It is vital to ensure that texture and emulsion stability is maintained without the use of what consumers may consider as artificial products, while still delivering the perfect texture and colour."

“Although the clean label movement poses some challenges to manufacturers, it undoubtedly presents a huge opportunity for growth, with three quarters of customers in Europe stating they would be willing to pay a higher price for products made with recognisable or trusted ingredients. As such, manufacturers should make sure they are ready to provide the solutions that meet this growing consumer demand without compromising on quality.”

Tate & Lyle’s portfolio of clean label solutions

“Clean label has evolved beyond a trend to be a baseline for companies — it is now the expectation amongst many consumers. Although a broadly accepted definition of clean label remains elusive, we know that every food and beverage company has its own specific criteria to attain a degree of transparency. Tate & Lyle offers an extensive portfolio of ingredients and solutions that will help manufacturers across a host of sectors to meet different clean label needs."

“We offer a wide portfolio of solutions derived from natural sources, including starches, fibres, emulsifiers and sweeteners. These include our label-friendly CLARIA Starches, which can label as ‘corn starch’. Our clean label solutions also include PROMITOR Soluble Fibre, which labels as ‘soluble corn fibre’."

"As well as providing fibre enrichment, PROMITOR Soluble Fibre also helps reduce calories in reduced sugar and fat products by rebalancing build and mouthfeel. Finally, we have an extensive portfolio of stevia sweeteners, which have been designed to help manufacturers to deliver the highest quality clean label friendly products."

"We work closely with manufacturers to meet different challenges, such as maintaining texture and colour, guaranteeing shelf-life stability and delivering optimum taste.”

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