Clean Label Market Drivers

The clean label movement is driven by Western markets—specifically the United States—and Western European markets, but demand is increasing in emerging markets.

Alan Rownan, Research Analyst

September 22, 2017

3 Min Read
Clean Label Market Drivers

Globally, the leading clean labels in terms of value sales were “no artificial ingredients" in 2015, according to Euromonitor International. No artificial preservatives saw sales of US$73.4 billion, no artificial colors were worth $63 billion and no artificial flavors was worth $48.1 billion.

Clean label sales are largely driven by North America, specifically the United States and Western European countries. All natural/no artificial claims, however, are also seeing initial successes in other regions, notably in Asia Pacific in which China, having previously been plagued by damaging food scandals, is seeing a concerted effort to increase transparency on labels. In 2015, Chinese clean label retail value sales were worth $15.6 billion, according to Euromonitor International.

At the core of clean label is simplicity and the ability of this attribute to positively influence a consumer’s propensity to trust. Across food and beverages, preferences can rapidly change, but clean label has staying power.

Across packaged food and soft and hot drinks, retail sales of clean products bearing at least one clean label stood at $165 billion in 2015. Honing in on packaged food, the standout category was, and will continue to be, dairy, as we see a concerted drive to adapt to consumer preferences for more natural products. Ready meals, sauces, dressings and condiments and sweet and savory snacks may represent the low hanging fruit within packaged food, and all showed similar performances in 2015, with value sales of $15 billion, $14 billion and $14 billion, respectively. The dexterity of clean label claims and their applicability across such a vast number of categories and products guarantees its continued success.

However, the potential to oversaturate a product with claims could bring the next generation of green-washing, and food and beverage companies must remain acutely aware of this danger and strive to contextualize claims in terms of necessity.

Read more about clean label market trends in INSIDER’s Exceeding Expectations for Clean Label Digital Magazine.

Learn more market data about clean label from Alan Rownan during the Defining Clean Label: Moving From Trend to Norm Workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9:00 a.m. at SupplySide West in Las Vegas. The Workshop is underwritten by Cargill, Synergy and Tate and Lyle.

Alan Rownan, ethical labels analyst, Euromonitor International (, is responsible for both producing content and enhancing the research behind Euromonitor International’s Passport: Ethical Labels database. Rownan primarily focuses on the packaged food and drinks industries, providing key insights and analysis into the movement toward increasing transparency and accountability with the consumer. This involves closely monitoring both ethical claims relating to sustainable trade, farming and environmental protection, to personal beliefs and animal welfare statements both on product packaging and also within corporate social responsibility reports made by leading global players. In addition to this, Rownan has presented at major industry events including Food Matters Live (London, 2015), Vitafoods Europe (Geneva, 2016), the ICCO Cocoa Market Outlook Conference (London, 2016) and the Clean Label Conference (Chicago, 2017). and regularly provides article contributions to leading trade and industry publications.

About the Author(s)

Alan Rownan

Research Analyst, Euromonitor International

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