In the last five years, the food industry has seen the clean label trend build momentum with consumers and it shows no signs of flagging anytime soon. As a result, food manufacturers are now working to re-formulate or risk being left behind by their competitors.

What is the definition of clean labeling?

The answer to that question is both simple and complicated. The simple answer is there is no definition or standard for the term. The more complicated answer is the definition lies with the consumer. Some large companies have even defined their own parameters around clean labeling, however this does not mean there is consensus across the industry. Clean labeling could be any one or more of the following:

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

Driving product development

Rather than seeing the ambiguity around clean labeling and ingredient transparency as a problem in need of a solution, we've found it to be a catalyst driving some of our newest product developments. As our customers have requested stabilizers to meet their specific labeling requirements, we've worked with them to design texture and stability solutions that meet both key functionality needs as well as their labeling requirements.

Example: Developing new stabilizers for the ready-to-drink protein beverage category

The expansion of our Ticaloid® Pro line of RTD beverage stabilizers is just one example of new product development inspired by requests from our customers.

Optimizing for cost savings

During our development work for our first Ticaloid Pro products, we sought to improve on the products that were currently available in the market by creating stabilizers that offered cost-in-use savings for manufacturers and co-packers of RTD beverages. 

Meeting specific label requirements

Once these stabilizers were launched, we started getting requests from our customers for versions that met special labeling requirements. In the absence of a definition for clean label, we worked closely with the customer to formulate products that met their specific needs, including:

  • Carrageenan alternatives—While carrageenan contributes suspension, mouthfeel enhancement, and viscosity building using just a single ingredient, we understand some consumers are demanding carrageenan-free foods and regulations are changing to respond those demands. We've been working with manufacturers to develop stabilizers that help them meet their texture and stability needs; this most recently resulted in the introduction of Ticaloid® Pro 181 AG, a stabilizer that provides a clean label alternative to a variety of stabilizers and emulsifiers typically used in heat processed dairy-alternative beverages.
  • Organic compliance—Because there are no agreed upon standards for "clean label," some food manufacturers are choosing to work with ingredients that meet specific levels of compliance within the established organic standards. Our Ticaloid Pro 148 OG is suitable for foods and beverages with the "Made with Organic" label designation and is also non-GMO.
  • Free-from formulations--Formerly a designation applied only to diets for those with allergies and sensitivities, foods bearing free-from claims are becoming popular with consumers who are choosing to avoid certain ingredient. Gelatin is one ingredient consumers are removing from their diets and formulators are searching for options that offer similar textural attributes and functional characteristics. Our Ticagel® Natural 581-GC replaces the texture and functionality of gelatin in gummy confections and nutritional delivery systems like vitamins.

These are just a few of the food stabilizers we've developed to address the clean label trend. We've worked with companies in nearly every food category to find similar opportunities for new product development.

Count on the Gum Gurus to overcome your clean label texture and stability challenges

When reformulating to overcome design challenges brought on by the clean label movement, it is essential to have the correct tools at your disposal. When you work with us you are accessing an experienced R&D team that combines extensive knowledge of all the hydrocolloids in our portfolio with our Food Texture Terminology to develop finished products that meet your texture and stability requirements.

No matter your food application, our Gum Gurus® are available to help you select the most appropriate stabilizer solutions to meet your texture and stability needs as well as well as your special label requirements. To speak with a Gum Guru about your specific projects, call our technical service hotline at +1-800-899-3953 / +1-410-273-7300 or chat live online.



Originally published 9/24/15

Updated 11/21/16