Clean label is now much more than a trend and is now regarded as standard in the food industry. Over 20% of new US products tracked in 2014 featured a clean label positioning, up from 17% in 2013, according to Innova Market Insights data.
Significant rises in the use of clean label ingredients have also been tracked, with growing interest in natural sweeteners, such as stevia and monk fruit, natural colors such as those based on spirulina, elderberry and beetroot, and thickeners such as tragacanth and gellan gums.
Consumers are demanding shorter and more recognizable ingredients lists and manufacturers are responding by increasingly highlighting the naturalness and origins of their products.
With growing concerns over the lack of a definition of "natural," however, there is a need for more clarity and specificity, with consumers, retailers, industry and regulators all driving the demand for more transparency in food labeling.
"This demand for clean labeling has now brought the need for clear labeling equally to the fore," reports Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, "resulting in a move to clearer and simpler claims and packaging for maximum transparency and necessitating an industry response in terms of reformulation and new communication strategies."
"From Clean to Clear Label" was identified by Innova Market Insights as the number one in their top ten trends for 2015, recognizing that it is no longer a niche area for the food and drinks industry.