When considering the industry, it's no surprise that clean labeling will be one of the key discussion topics that will continue well into 2016 and beyond.
Across the board, consumers are demanding more transparency in all products they put on or in their bodies, including food, beverages, supplements and cosmetics. No group is driving this more than Millennials, who expect key questions to be answered by the brands they buy and the companies they work for.
In the United States, clean label is a gray area. The more generic terms, such as natural, have no real definition, despite being more regulated in other global markets such as the EU.
Beyond regulations, clean labeling for brands in 2016 in the United States means simplifying ingredient lists; being specific with claims; reducing artificial ingredients used in coloring, flavoring, sweeteners and processing; and being more transparent about sourcing practices.
No matter what happens on the regulatory front, consumers have made up their minds about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whether or not scientists agree, and whether or not consumers are eating kale chips or ice cream, their expectation is they have the right to know what is in their food.
Consumers are "regulating" the market with their wallets, choosing what they perceive to be minimally processed foods over claims that have more generic labels or ones that go no further than basic FDA requirements.
Learn more about how the trend of clean labeling affects the positioning and brand perception of products in the article “What's in a (Clean) Label? “ in INSIDER’s Clean Label Digital Issue.
Sunita Kumar is a multi-prong entrepreneur and the founder of Nourish Nutrition Inc. (nourishnutrition.com). After spending more than a decade at leading consumer brands and agencies launching products and campaigns for companies such as L’Oreal, American Express, Intuit, Visa, Amazon and Sprout Organic Foods, Kumar now brings her expertise as a scientist and marketer—along with her background in product formulation, supply chain and health-focused retail—to companies looking for guidance on trends, ingredient formulation and optimizing their retail story to drive business growth.