Clean Label, a challenge for food manufacturers in an era of changing consumer trends

Author
Joanna Sikorska
17.03.2023
8 min reading
Clean Label, a challenge for food manufacturers in an era of changing consumer trends
Summary
Table of contents

  • Clean Label is a food trend for products with a label that clearly states the composition and production method.
  • Food manufacturers need to adapt their products to changing consumer trends.
  • Native starch, Vitamin C and Gelatin are some of the additives that may be found in the ingredients of Clean Label products

Clean Label definition


Clean Label is a food trend that refers to products with a clearly defined label. Clean Label does not necessarily just mean that the products have a simple, short, and natural composition that is easy for consumers to understand. They are also not free of additives, but of natural origin. 

Clean Label refers not only to the composition of the product itself, but also to how it is produced and processed. Consumers are looking for products that are made in a natural and organic way. However, it should be emphasized that Clean Label is only a trend that is not legally defined.

Clean Label products are a response to the growing consumer demand for natural products. Would you like to learn more about Clean Label? Read our detailed article!

Clean Label – a challenge for food manufacturers


Changing consumer trends are having a major impact on shaping the market for food products. There is a growing number of consumers who are paying attention to the quality, composition and impact of products on health and the environment. Consumers want full control over what they consume and are looking for healthy, natural and safe products.

Food manufacturers face many challenges to meet the growing demand for Clean Label products. They must adapt their products to changing consumer trends, which often requires changes in ingredients and production processes. At the same time, they need to keep their products competitive, which is difficult when producing natural products with higher production costs. Another difficulty is that for many products, while maintaining the desired characteristics, this usually requires more money to produce.

One of the biggest challenges for food manufacturers is also the lack of a consistent pattern of expectations for Clean Label products. There are different views among consumers about the harmfulness of certain ingredients – some consider them harmless, others the opposite.

Ingredients allowed in Clean Label products

Ingredients allowed in Clean Label products


Clean Label products may contain preservatives or thickeners. These are functional additives that affect: the texture of products, giving them smoothness and uniformity; color and flavor; extending shelf life; reducing food spoilage; and browning fresh fruit exposed to the air. They have many useful functions and must be present in the formulation of many food products. However, in Clean Label products, they must be raw materials of natural origin or safe for health. Here are some examples of food additives that may be present in the ingredients of Clean Label products.

Native starches


Starches have many properties that are useful in the food industry. They are soluble in hot water and swell. Therefore, they are added to products as thickeners, but do not change the taste of the product. They are used to make sweets, sauces, desserts or dairy products: Native Wheat Starch, Native Potato Starch or Native Corn Starch.

Vitamin C


Vitamin C may also function under the name Ascorbic Acid. Although it has an E number (E300), it is a natural preservative that is safe for health. Vitamin C added to foods is often an antioxidant – by slowing down the oxidation process, the product retains its natural color and freshness. The low pH of Ascorbic Acid can also help prevent microbial growth, keeping the product fresh and preventing spoilage. Vitamin C can be used as a preservative in many foods such as bread, cold cuts, jams, jellies and sauces.

Gelatin


Gelatin is a food additive labeled E441, but it is natural and completely safe for health. The most important properties of Gelatin are its viscosity and its ability to form a gel. It is also used as an emulsifier and thickener. It can be found in the composition of fruit and meat jellies, yogurts, cottage cheese, dairy desserts and sauces. If you want to learn more about the use of Gelatin, be sure to read our article!

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Native Potato Starch
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