Includes analysis and research findings from almost 3,000 consumers across nine European countries
Ingredients solutions provider Ingredion has launched a Clean Label Guide to Europe, which aims to provide practical advice on the latest clean label trends and implications for the food industry, ahead of the implementation of the Food Information for Consumers Regulations (FIC) in December.
For food manufacturers and retailers, the new report includes analysis and interpretation of research findings from more than 2,800 consumers across nine European countries.
With the new FIC Regulations taking effect in December, the spotlight is focused on food labelling and how to provide consumers with the on-pack information they need, while maintaining brand loyalty. As such, consumers are ranking both the positioning of the list of ingredients (77%) and the clean label, such as ‘natural’ or ‘no additives/preservatives’ (68%), above nutritional information (59%) and brand (53%), when making purchasing decisions. The importance of the list of ingredients remains key across Europe and food manufacturers therefore need to ensure they fully understand what really drives customer purchasing decisions, and balance this with the FIC requirements.
Mona Rademacher, Marketing Manager, Wholesome at Ingredion Europe, explains: 'The FIC regulations include areas such as nutritional information on processed foods, indication of allergens and improved legibility of labels. While of course these need to be fully adhered to, our guide explains how factors such as ingredient acceptability and clean label claims can also influence purchasing decisions.
'For example, we found that ‘natural’ or ‘all natural’ was the claim most likely to make European customers consider switching brands (61%), followed by ‘no artificial ingredients or additives’ (56%). Thinking about ingredient usage as a sales tool will be important for manufacturers in light of the growing clean label and health trends.'
Ingredion’s Guide provides guidance to help food manufacturers and retailers find the most effective way of marketing and packaging their own products; it provides consumer insights into the clean label ingredient and communication movement, which may help food manufacturers and retailers as part of their ongoing reviews into future growth areas and market trends.
Brand alone is no longer enough to keep a customer loyal and consumers increasingly focus on back of pack ingredients, so the claims they support are becoming more relevant in purchasing decisions. According to Ingredion, nearly two-thirds of Europeans (61%) now read both the front and back of packaging, rapidly approaching the 70% who usually or always read the front of the pack.
'This clearly demonstrates that any front of pack claim must be supported by the information on the back. European consumers are becoming increasingly ingredient and label savvy and manufacturers who recognise this, and act on it, will reap the benefits,' continues Rademacher.
'With the right front of pack messaging ‘switching power’ is increased, and with front of pack natural claims providing the highest switching power compared with other front of pack statements, the advantage of a clean label positioning is apparent.'
Ingredion has established its own definition of clean label as, 'free from chemical additives; simple recognisable ingredients and minimal processing'. In 2013, on average 27% of all product launches in packaged food across Europe were clean label, with the new product launch activity spreading across different categories such as bakery, savoury and dairy.
The Clean Label Guide to Europe provides a breakdown of attitudes towards clean label trends across nine European countries and includes information on differing front/back of pack reading habits; regional acceptability and recognition of ingredients; preferred ingredient listings and factors influencing product switching.