In this article on the Packaging Innovation website, the author explains what a clean label is and the effects that clean labelling has on consumer’s perception of your food product. Below we have summarised the article.
Food scandals and the growing awareness of healthy eating have caused consumer confidence in the food industry to plummet. Hungry for natural ingredients, more consumers are searching so-called ‘clean labels’. Brands like Kellogs and McDonalds have committed to the clean label trend by banning artificial ingredients as well as making their labels easier to interpret.
Research by Innova Market insights show 75% of consumers in the US pay attention to food labels. 91% believe the more recognisable the ingredients, the more trustworthy and healthier the product.
There is no legal framework for clean labels yet. However, food industry experts agree that the most successful clean labels have many features in common. These features include:
• Growing claims; such as ‘organic’ and ‘natural’.
• Free-from claims; stating what’s not in the product. E.g. ‘non-GMO’, ‘no additives’.
• Replacing E numbers with the chemical or common name of the additive.
Innova is confident clean food labels will soon be the norm. The Harvard Business Review agrees, warning the food industry against making mistakes similar to that of Volkswagen who lied about emissions tests: “Neglecting the clean-label movement will cost you customers and workers; avoiding it as a purposeful strategy could destroy the company or a few careers. Just think about Volkswagen, the poster child for creating the anti–clean label. By flat-out lying on its labels, VW damaged its brand, possibly irrevocably.”
The article concludes by advising companies to learn more about consumers growing expectations and look into the traffic light labelling system to improve legibility.