Consumers and “Clean Food”: Where is The Clean Label Trend Going Next?

Heather Allen
By: Heather Allen 

As knowledge of eating healthier and consumer attempts at losing weight expand, lingo has become a very important part of marketing products within supermarkets. Words such as “natural” and “clean” have drawn consumers to products because they feel as though they are eating food that contains less chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, color additives, etc.1 Looking at the ingredients list for words that an average consumer does not recognize or cannot pronounce is increasingly popular. “Clean” is a word that tends to include all of the “healthful” ingredients and processes in the mind of consumers. People correlate “clean” with fresh, natural, less processed, and healthier for you. While this may be debated depending on the food item claiming to be clean, the need to market a food that people will not feel bad for eating is essential to continuing brands and foods.

            The problem with claims such as these is that they may be misleading to consumers who do not question what the terminology actually means. One CEO admitted that once consumers questioned what “natural flavors” meant in the supposedly natural sparkling water, there were some changes to be made.1 Manufacturers are not required to disclose what ingredients such as “natural flavors” really are. Therefore, it is easy to be misguided by the terminology that businesses use to sell their products. Overall, clean does not have an exact definition which allows for a very broad use of the word in marketing. Looking at the ingredients list is probably the best way to stay away from common misconceptions that people face when labels attempt to describe their product as healthy, clean, or natural.


References:

  1. Watson E. SPECIAL REPORT: Consumers and ‘clean’ food: Where is the clean label trend going next? FoodNavigator-USA.com. http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Markets/Where-is-the-clean-label-trend-going-next-Hartman-Group-weighs-in. Published April 26, 2017. Accessed June 12, 2017.
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