A clean product is one with little or no artificial ingredients. There are a lot of issues associated with clean food, including food safety, nutrition,quality, purchasing, product development, marketing and sales.
For food manufacturers, choosing to go with clean products is a big risk because there are a lot of technical and operational issues which need to be balanced against the potential sales increase.
As an example of one of the issues which confront businesses when they decided to go”natural” with their products, removing salt can have significant food safety implications, as well as directly changing the flavour profile of a food. How does a business adjust the processes and recipe to ensure that the product looks and tastes like it did previously and is still safe for consumption and has the expected shelf life when ingredients are changed?
More and more companies are making the decision to move toward clean or “natural” products because the sales increases more than outweigh the issues associated with developing and manufacturing them.
A recent global study done by Beneo, a German based ingredient supplier, is showing that foods with natural or clean labels , including; “free from”, “ no added sugar”, and “non–GMO”, are more likely to be purchased when compared to brand recognition and product descriptions.
Fifty nine percent of the 3000 online consumers from the USA, UK and Germany believe that the word “natural’ on the label means that the food is healthy and 50 percent thought that the food would be high quality.
Although these results show that there is obviously sales benefits to a food manufacturer going “natural” with their products, the important point is that there cannot be claims on the label which are not true. As an example; if the label says “no added sugar” then there absolutely cannot be any added sugar (in any form) in the recipe or process.
Food law expert John Thisgaard, of FoodLegal, said; “Although there is no strict legal definition on what “natural” means, businesses should be aware of consumer protection legislation that prohibits the making of misleading or deceptive statements.”