Baking & Snack - June 2016 - 67

Clean Label

Is Better
Clean-eating trends among consumers
demand clean-label approaches
to bakery formulating.
by Donna Berry


Tired of hearing the term clean label? Well, it's not going
away. How a brand chooses to address the clean-label
movement is very personal because there's no formal
definition, yet many companies claim to be doing it.
"In the 1980s and through much of the 1990s, consumers
largely tried to avoid certain substances like fats or cholesterol because they were thought to be harmful," said Darren
Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst, The NPD Group
Inc., a consumer research company. "Around the turn of
this century, consumers became more concerned with getting more 'good' substances like whole grains or omega-3s
in their diets. Now, in addition to eating more better-foryou foods, new priorities are coming into focus for consumers like eating foods in their pure form."
According to NPD data, more than 30% of consumers said they are cautious about foods with preservatives,
compared with 24% just 10 years ago. The trend for other food additives followed the same progression.

What's a food additive?
There are basically two categories of food ingredients,
those the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves as food additives and those Generally Recognized
as Safe (GRAS). The latter is a designation that has ei-

ther been given by FDA to commonly used food ingredients, such as flour, sugar and salt, or a company can
self-affirm an ingredient to be GRAS by making available scientific data and information deeming the ingredient as safe for its intended use.
Both GRAS and approved additives often improve the
integrity, safety and even nutritional quality of baked
goods. Other food additives aid the flavor and color of
baked goods.
But now, consumers question use of additives. When
they see a long, unfamiliar name among the listed ingredients, they often think the additive is a complex chemical, even a dangerous compound. Uninformed consumers might find "ascorbic acid" offensive, which is the
chemical name for vitamin C.
"Marketers would be wise to examine their ingredient labels to understand whether their key consumer
targets might find anything objectionable based on
media coverage or even simply by how pronounceable an ingredient is to the average consumer," Mr.
Seifer said. Some ingredients can be listed by more familiar names. For example, "egg white" is much more
consumer-friendly than "albumen."

Research shows that
consumers scan for certain
ingredients when evaluating
packaged foods.

Simple and transparent
There are two approaches to clean label, often done simultaneously. There's clean-label formulating, which is
all about using a minimal number of ingredients as well
as simple ingredients with readable names. Then there's
clean-label marketing; it's all about transparency and
disclosure. It often includes statements about what the
food does not contain. / June 2016 Baking & Snack 67

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