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The lack of an agreed upon definition hasn't slowed down the growth of the clean label platform. In fact, the clean label trend took center stage at IFT Food Expo 2015 and it continues to demand the spotlight well into the new year.

According to research from Innova, clean label is a global trend with North America and Australasia seeing the largest increases in claims on new product launches. The report also noted that transparency is becoming a key component of clean label food product development as consumers are taking more interest in the sources of the ingredients used in their foods.1

Global clean label claims

Making Clean Label Claims

Depending on the food or beverage manufacturer you work for or the country you're in, clean label could mean any combination of claims:

  • All-natural
  • Country of origin
  • Minimal ingredients
  • Minimally processed
  • No artificial ingredients
  • No preservatives
  • Non-GMO
  • Organic
  • Recognizable ingredients

Download our chart the compares the way several large food companies classify the different hydrocolloids

While clean label encompasses a range of claims, organic is growing the fastest with 9% of global new product launches in the first half of 2015 making such a claim, an increase of 3.4% over the same period two years earlier. GMO-free claims also saw marked growth.2

Popular clean label claims

The Free-From Movement

While clean label claims are a hot trend in the food industry, the related "Free-From" movement isn't far behind. Once relegated to special diets for those with allergies and sensitivities, foods with Free-From claims are becoming popular with consumers who are making the choice to avoid certain ingredients or categories of food for health or religious reasons.

Claims like gluten-free, lactose-free, and gelatin-free, are leading to innovations in product development as food manufacturers seek functional alternatives to single ingredients that don't meet the desired claim. While there are few food ingredients that can be replaced with another single ingredient, a blend of carefully selected ingredients can usually be substituted to give consumers the ingredient food labels and eating characteristics they demand.

Dairy Alternatives on the Rise

One ingredient that is often eliminated from diets is dairy. No longer are dairy-free beverages solely for those with lactose intolerance as other consumers gravitate to drinks made with dairy alternatives. Boasting fewer calories and fat than their dairy-based counterparts, drinks made with non-dairy alternatives can offer similar indulgent texture attributes. Whether the protein source is nut milks like almond milk or beans like soy or peas, the addition of texturants and stabilizers creates textures that please consumers while also increasing the suspension, emulsification, and overall stability of the finished drink.3

Dairy Alternative Drink Introductions

Talk with Our Gum Gurus about Your Specific Beverage Stabilizer Needs

No matter the label claims you are formulating to or the protein source you choose, our Gum Gurus® are always available to help you select a stabilizer that meets your specific needs. You can reach them via our technical service hotline (800) 899-3953/+1 (410) 273-7300 or online chat.

Resources

Video: What is Clean Labeling?

Download: Clean Label Hydrocolloids Reference Chart

Article: Clean Label Trend Drives Food Product Development

1Clean Label & the Consumer: What consumers are looking for, Innova Market Insights, Arnhem, The Netherlands, October 2015.

2Top 10 Trends for 2016, Innova Market Insights, Arnhem, The Netherlands, February 2016.

3Dairy Alternative Drinks, Sub-Category Report H1 2015, Innova Market Insights, Arnhem, The Netherlands, November 2015.