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Clean-Label Supplements

As the clean-label trend sweeps over the food and beverage industries, supplement labels are also getting a clean and transparent revamp.

As the clean-label trend is sweeping over the food and beverage industry, supplement labels are also getting a clean and transparent revamp. This is a big deal, as almost 18 percent of American adults surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012 use some form of non-vitamin, non-mineral dietary supplement, with fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin the most popular. To further drive the clean-label supplements trend home, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, “Sales of supplements derived from herbs and botanicals reached an unprecedented high in 2014, marking a continuous 10-year growth."

But perhaps Jeff Avila, vice president of marketing, Novel Ingredients, explained it best when he described the “rapid blurring of the lines between food and supplements. Consumers now seek holistic wellness through food, supplements and personal care. This isn’t just a rehash of holistic health or general wellness—what we’re anticipating, and the shift that Novel is evolving to target, is the concept of food as medicine."

So what ingredients are on consumers’ hotlists? “Depending on how individual consumers define ‘clean’ for their personal lifestyle, some or all of the following are being avoided: anything labeled or perceived to be artificial, processed, not sustainable, derived from or using GMOs [genetically modified organisms], etc." said Mel Mann, director, flavor innovation, Wixon. “These ingredients can be the actives in a supplement or excipients. For the latter, fewer is better, as a ‘cleaner’ product is perceived as not needing any non-active ingredients."

Rikka Cornelia, product manager, BI Nutraceuticals, said, “The majority of vitamins and minerals in dietary supplements are synthetically manufactured. With the clean-label trend, consumers are increasingly seeking ingredients that inherently contain these nutrients, like acerola powder with naturally occurring vitamin C instead of straight ascorbic acid." She also mentioned non-GMO and plant-based tablets and gel caps are trending.

What’s interesting is the results of consumer research commissioned by BENEO. “In terms of product designation, 62 percent of respondents prefer chicory root fiber as the most natural soluble fiber," explained Jon Peters, president, BENEO Inc. “In contrast, only 3 percent of consumers perceive soluble polydextrose as natural fibers. This is one of the reasons why fiber gummy chews, as well as other fiber supplements that contain chicory root fiber, are increasing in popularity."

Clearly, consumers have their own ideas as to what constitutes “natural" based on how something is spelled or how it sounds. 

Learn more in the article “Clean-Label Supplements" in INSIDER’s Clean Label Digital Issue.

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