It seems lately all the rage amongst consumers is the desire for “Clean Food Labels.” However, currently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no parameters or definitions as to what a clean label is. This leaves food companies at their own liberty to interpret what the consumer believes to be a clean label.
In looking at data collected from Canadean Limited, a London based company that conducts market research worldwide and provides analysis services, consumers are even confused as to what a “clean label is or means. It appears the meaning of a clean label is different to different people. At the 2016 Clean Label Conference in Illinois, Canadean Limited presented consumer’s concepts on clean labels with these being the four major themes¹:
- The closer to nature an ingredient or product is, the more “clean” it is perceived to be.
- Simplicity and familiarity of ingredients is important.
- The transparency of ingredients and how a product is made are critical.
- The more processed a food or drink is, the less “clean” it is perceived to be.
Canadean Limited research reveals that just over 1/3 of consumers globally and nearly 50% of Americans do not know what “clean label” means.¹ With consumer’s not knowing what it means, how can food companies know? The data, from the 2015 global survey conducted by Canadean Limited also reveals that older generations in the United States do not understand or know what the term “clean label” means, while the younger generations identify with the term. Younger consumers tend to see “clean label” as intrinsic to a product where older consumers view “clean label” as more in the context of removing “bad” ingredients.¹
In this confusion, what do healthcare professionals do when they are offering a weight loss program that uses high protein, low carb foods that are packaged and have ingredients lists that can be long? Educate your clientele. Doesn’t the magnitude of harm that adipose tissue contributes to overall health far out-way the ingestion of ingredients that are FDA approved as Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS)?
To help you to better educate your patients about the foods used in their nutritional intervention for weight loss, we have outlined some commonly used ingredients found in delicious HealthWise foods in the link below. Many of these FDA approved ingredients have important functions in the appearance, consistency, mouth-feel and taste of the HealthWise foods.
- Clean Label Focus: What are Consumers Saying and What is the Industry Doing? Tom Vierhile, Innnovation Insights Director Canadean. 2016.
- Clean Labeling for Food. Shangci Wang, Koushik Adhikari; University of Georgia Dept. of Food Science & Technology. 2016.
Consumers Turn an Eye to Clean Labels. Wei Chen, Heather Hart. Food Safety Magazine Oct/Nov 2016.