“Clean label" is on the rise, according to data from Innova Market Insights, and may be the new standard in the food industry, the market research firm suggested.
More than 20 percent of U.S. products tracked in 2014 featured a clean label positioning, up from 17 percent in 2013, Innova Market Insights reported. 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.
With growing concerns over the lack of a definition of “natural," however, there is a need for more clarity and specificity. Consumers, retailers, industry and regulators are all driving the demand for more transparency in food labeling, which will be a topic discussed during Innova Market Insights’ eleventh “Taste the Trend" presentation at the 2015 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo (IFT15) in Chicago, July 12-14.
Other companies will be highlighting clean label with new ingredients and other innovations designed to accommodate the trend. For example, Ingredion Incorporated will feature three interactive “inspiration stations" at the show, one being “Simple foods. Simple ingredients." The station will highlight non-GMO sweeteners and starches, clean label, pulse flours, potato starch and gums, gluten-free and more to help companies simplify labels and ingredient lists, improve transparency and deliver authenticity. The other stations Ingredion will feature include: “New foods. New ingredients," and “Healthy eating. Healthy ingredients."
In the past, color has been a hurdle for manufacturers of natural or clean-label products. But with those hurdles came the opportunity for innovative new ingredients, and ingredient manufacturers have stepped up to meet the needs of developers seeking bright, stable and natural hues. At IFT15, the GNT Group will showcase its EXBERRY® natural color-intensive fruit, vegetable and plant concentrates. The latest products in GNT’s portfolio are made exclusively from natural and edible raw materials, and will be demonstrated via beverages and frozen desserts.
In addition to showcasing its new DOLCIA PRIMA® Allulose sweetener in a reduced-calorie craft root beer soda and a reduced-calorie and -sugar soft-serve ice cream, Tate & Lyle will exhibit its line of CLARIA® Functional Clean-Label Starches, which are designed to offer manufacturers similar functionality to modified food starch with a clean taste and clean label. Attendees can explore the product in demonstrations such as crispy French fry sticks with white cheddar dipping sauce, and a gluten-free German chocolate bundtini cake. CLARIA provides thickening and a clean taste and color to the dipping sauce as well as thickening efficiency, texture consistency, clean taste and color to the icing.
Also at IFT15, Oregon-based PowderPure will highlight its line of natural vegetable and fruit powders for use in foods and dietary supplements. The powders are created utilizing the company’s Infidri™ drying technology, which allows the powders to retain 100 percent of the nutritional value of fresh fruits and vegetables. According to the company, the drying technology uses specific wavelengths of infrared light to target water molecules and evaporate them within minutes without disturbing the antioxidants, and vitamins found in the fruits and vegetables.