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Raising the Clean Label Bar: Empowering Brands

<p>Clean label is a market-driven movement based on consumer demand for &#8220;real foods"&#0151;foods and beverages that are natural, include nothing artificial and have a short list of recognizable ingredients that are familiar, and easy to understand and pronounce.</p>

The term “natural" used to be the industry standard highlighting the better-for-you aspect of products and ingredients. It signified that the product was from nature or all natural, and it implied trust, quality and purity. The term went viral and every brand jumped on the natural bandwagon, including brands whose packaging was typically “healthier" than the product inside. It eventually became an overused punchline losing its meaning and its effectiveness to message healthy authentic ingredients. Natural is still used today to segment health-focused brands and retailers from other mainstream brands and retailers.

Marketing and brand messaging are all about the perception shoppers have for a product or brand. Remember the game where someone would say part of an iconic jingle and you would have to complete it? Besides being fun, the game highlighted how certain brands have become entrenched in our consciousness. The marketing geniuses behind these jingles built brand empires that have completely overshadowed the competitive landscape. For example, several brands are still used to define the entire category: Kleenex, Pop-Tarts, Band-Aid, etc.

Consumers want healthy clean label products they can trust and confidently feed their families. Shoppers will gladly pay a premium for the products that fully meet their needs: nutrition, satiety, authenticity, transparency, etc. This is why these innovative brands are growing by leaps and bounds despite their higher price points. The industry is taking notice of these important trends, which is why natural products sales are growing faster than their mainstream counterparts.

Clean label is all about consumer perception; it is another way to convey trust, transparency and authenticity in products. Furthermore, clean label can be viewed as the “new natural." Savvy retailers are continually striving to build and expand their loyal shopper base. They realize the health-conscious shopper is responsible for the growth in their stores. More importantly, they are beginning to understand the importance of the natural organic shopper and how those shoppers purchase premium products across the entire store, making them the most valuable consumers.

Learn more about clean label food and beverage formulation trends in INSIDER’s Clean Label Digital Magazine.

Daniel Lohman will discuss how marketing and brand messaging can influence consumer perception about clean label products during the Defining Clean Label: Moving From Trend to Norm workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. at SupplySide West in Las Vegas. The Workshop is underwritten by Cargill and Synergy.

Daniel Lohman, CPSA, is a strategic advisor in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and organic industries. His company, Category Management Solutions, provides innovative ideas, actionable insights and strategic solutions for companies interested in gaining a significant competitive advantage. Lohman assists companies in expanding their retail distribution and improving their merchandising. His extensive knowledge and expertise reaches far beyond traditional category management and has earned him recognition throughout the industry as an expert, speaker, trainer and thought leader.

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