‘Clean label’ is no longer a trend—it is now a simple fact of doing business. What started in the Natural and Specialty category of the grocery channel has now taken hold in the Conventional channel as well, as large companies such as M&M/Mars, Kraft, and Hershey focus on producing products with Clean Labels as well.
But what exactly does ‘Clean Label’ mean? Simply put, ‘Clean Label’ is “trend of simplifying ingredient lists… [and to] to reduce the number of ingredients” in food products. Where possible, simpler ingredients are substituted for more complex ones. So, for example, “cream” is substituted for “microparticulated whey protein concentrate.”
The chain Panera has gone so far as to publish a “No-No List” of ingredients it will not use. The company’s goal is to remove these ingredients from all menu items by the end of 2016. It estimates that it is 85% of the way there.
Food producers are being forced to reformulate their recipes in order to maintain their bottom line. According to research from Morgan Stanley, the Millenial Generation is three times as likely to “seek employment with a company because of its stance on social and/or environmental issues.” And they’re twice as likely to “check product packaging to ensure sustainability”, purchase from a brand because of its sustainability credentials, or put their money in investment funds that target sustainability outcomes. Another study, conducted by the spice company Kalsec® found the following:
- 80% of consumers indicate that a short and simple ingredient listing is important or very important.
- 75% of consumers usually or always read package claims and ingredient listings.
- 2 out of 3 indicate a “no artificial ingredients’ claim is important or very important
Maple syrup and maple sugar are two versatile, plentiful ingredients that can go a long way toward getting you a clean label, as maple substitutes for a long line of ingredients, including aspartame, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), maltodextrin, polydextrose, saccharin, sucralose, sucroglycerides, and other artificial sweeteners. Bascom Family Farms has a long history working with food manufacturers in recipe formulation. Contact us today to talk about how we can help you get a Clean Label.