Consumers are paying more attention to ingredient labels and are increasingly wary of artificial preservatives and additives designed to improve the taste, appearance or shelf life of a product.
Three main trends are shaping clean label innovation: concern for health and the environment; preference for fruits and vegetables; and flexibility of freeze-dried ingredients.
Despite the growing focus on clean labels, it is not a scientific term. Consumer perceptions of what a clean label means are subjective, but typically focus on simplicity; consumers see recognizable ingredients as natural and healthier; transparency, consumers want brands to be transparent about their manufacturing processes, with minimally processed foods typically perceived as cleaner and more natural; and traceability, with ethical and environmental considerations playing a larger role in the food purchasing decisions of consumers who want to know if their food is from sustainable sources.
The preference for natural colors is influencing purchases in traditionally indulgent categories, where taste has historically been the primary motivator. Now, consumers are looking for a way to indulge without feeling guilty, showing a preference for products with simpler labels and all-natural ingredients.
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