Consumers are increasingly interested in what goes into their food and how it ‘s made. Focus is on natural ingredients – in fact 41% of consumers in Italy, 35% in France, 33% in Germany, and 25% in Spain avoid food and drinks that contain artificial additives/preservatives1.
People want natural and minimally processed food, believing it to be healthier. Did you know that 44% of German consumers choose unprocessed food to lose or maintain weight?2 Clean and unprocessed is a perfect fit for dairy, where ingredients lists are typically short and contain natural ingredients.
Yoghurt’s “new” advantages
There’s an uptake in active interest for products with health benefits like calcium and probiotics. As well, consumers are re-embracing the positive benefits of fermentation as part of their interest in ancient processing techniques vs. processed foods.2 Consider communicating about your simple and traditional processes as well as your natural claims; you may be able to make attractive new claims without requiring a reformulation.
What happened to Clean Label?
Clean Label is alive and well. According to a recent Canadean survey, 45% of consumers are willing to pay a premium price for clean label products. Paradoxically, as many as 34% do not know what “clean label” means.3 That’s because it’s not a defined regulation, but rather a state in consumers’ collective mindset. Regarding colors, the general perception is that Coloring Foodstuff is Clean Label.
The below chart shows that the dairy industry in Europe has capitalized on the Clean Label trend, with an increase in product launches containing Coloring Foods and a decrease in launches containing natural colors.
The past doesn’t predict the future, especially with a movement like clean label. Increased focus on health, the unpredictable nature of global and social media, and seemingly random incidents will bring new energy to the clean label cause. Future events – whatever they are – will form consumer perception and likely bring new nuances to the clean labelmovement.3
Global events that brought Clean Label into our consciousness over the past decades:
- 1960’s - MSG linked to health effects
- 1970’s - Fears over e-number safety
- 2007 - Southampton study (UK)
- 2008 - Melamine scandals in China
- 2015 - GMO debate in USA
Claims that sell
Expect Clean Label to continue to be a positive, yet vague attribute. Be sure to communicate your specific Clean Label claims. No matter your direction for your next new product or reformulation, remember a ‘natural claim’ has even more value than a ‘no artificial claim.’ And Coloring Foods are required for any of the more sophisticated marketing claims like ‘low-processed,’ ‘ancient methods’ and ‘carefully crafted’ which research shows resonate and could set your brand apart.
1 Mintel: Ingredient Insight: Colors, Sep. 2016
2 Mintel - Yogurts & Desserts Global Annual Review 2016
3 Euromonitor Intl 2016 – Ethical Labels: The Clean Label Movement