Consumer interest in clean label or natural ingredients continues to rise. Approximately 50–75% of consumers believe that products with natural ingredients or fewer ingredients — or foods with other attributes such as better nutrition, environmental sustainability or ethical sourcing — qualify as clean label. Clean labels pose numerous benefits to society, helping people make healthier decisions at the grocery store, making the food industry more sustainable and improving our relationship with the environment. The type of clean label ingredients includes emulsifiers, stabilizer, and thickeners (EST), flavor, preservatives, colorants, and others. They are applicable in various industries including bakery & confectionery, dairy & frozen desserts, beverages, oils & fats, snacks, meat products, and others.
But as consumer demand for healthy, all-natural products continues to climb, the food industry is struggling to adapt. Manufacturers are scrambling to make a switch to more natural foods with fewer artificial ingredients. To catch up with the clean label norms, they prefer real ingredients from natural sources that can withstand the rigors of processing, create an attractive food or beverage with an enticing taste and mouthfeel, and supply a decent shelf life.
Rising Demand for Healthy Ingredients
Changing consumer demand is forcing some of the largest food manufacturers in the world to rethink some of their most successful products. Consumers, have largely been the ones driving new clean label trend, demanding that companies offer healthier products at their local grocery store. Clean labels and these revised ingredients lists are an attempt to woo over health-conscious consumers. But without a verified set of standards behind the movement, major corporations are struggling to understand what the term “clean label” means and how their decisions will impact their bottom line.
Consumers can’t seem to agree on what ingredients should be considered clean and unclean. Natural sweeteners like fruit juice and cane sugar may be too indulgent for some consumers, but for others, this could be the perfect replacement for high fructose corn syrup. All this uncertainty is keeping food manufacturers on their toes as they struggle to understand their customers’ specific concerns. As a result, some of the largest packaged food manufacturers are seeing a drop-in sales.
Some manufacturers have struggled to find the balance between switching to natural, clean ingredients and maintaining profits. Returning to the days of using traditional dairy ingredients or eggs, for example, presents issues with price volatility, refrigeration and storage costs, shorter shelf lives, new equipment needs, sourcing, and a host of other challenges. Adding to the difficulty is reformulating products with new ingredients while maintaining the flavor and consistency of the original recipe.
But food manufacturers will need to raise the bar to remain competitive. Consumers want healthy, natural, simple foods, and are actively avoiding foods made with chemical modifiers. This is the core of the clean label movement, and food manufacturers must keep pace by removing artificial ingredients and chemical modifiers from their applications, and replacing them with clean, natural alternatives.
While clean label refers to a certain type of food, ingredient transparency is something that applies to all foods and beverages. A recent report indicated that the majority of shoppers have transparency on their minds and that 86% would feel a higher sense of trust toward food manufacturers that had complete and easy-to-understand ingredients.
Today’s consumers are demanding to know more about the ingredients they consume, and they want to know exactly what’s in their products, how they were sourced and produced, how they might affect their health, how any animals involved in the process were treated, and more. Consumers are highly influenced by being aware of ingredients used in the food they consume which is driving the clean label ingredients market globally. Transparency and clean labels should go hand-in-hand and will be two priorities food manufacturers need to strive for going forward if they want to increase market share and appeal to these trends that are quickly becoming the norm.
To achieve those goals, choosing a supplier that values the same things and follows a strict chain of custody is key.
At HL Agro, we know how important these initiatives are and we take great pride in producing our food ingredients the right way. We procure the NON-GMO sesame seeds from the fertile lands and process them in the most hygienic manner using least of chemical resources to retain the purity & nutritive value of the seeds. An environment friendly approach is touted all across the supply chain to put a harness on the hazardous materials & carbon emissions.