Ifruits-market-colors-medium love food. And I cook for myself pretty often. When I’m at the grocery store, deciding what kind of products I want to get, there are certain labels and messages that catch my eye immediately. Natural, fresh, organic, no hormones or antibiotics, non-GMO… the list goes on. I look for labels that make me trust the food that I am about to consume is healthy, safe, good for me, etc. And, I’m not the only one. Just as I’ve become more health and label conscious, so have many other US consumers.

Specifically, I and many other consumers are drawn towards what are commonly referred to as “clean labels.” Simply put, clean label stands for natural ingredients with no artificial ingredients or chemicals. Labels that have words and ingredient that are easy to pronounce. It is widely believed that food and beverage products that have recognizable ingredients are healthier for you. Consumer demand has transformed “clean label” from a trend to the standard in the food and beverage industry, which has forced many companies to catch up and rethink the ingredients in their products.

vegetables-italian-pizza-restaurant-mediumNot only do we want to see what is in our food, but there is also the need for greater transparency into how our food is made. Many of the large food companies have started to include such information in their labels and messaging. For example, Campbell Soup has begun labeling their GMO and non-GMO foods and listing the names of the farms that make the cheese and sauce used in their SpaghettiO’s recipe on their website. Kellogg has included the names and bios of the farmers that grow their ingredients on their websites. Hershey has added smart labels on its packages with higher level of nutritional information. Sam’s Club puts codes on their produce packages so smartphone shoppers can instantly learn about where, when and how their food was grown.

In addition, there has been a huge boom in the natural and organic segment of the food industry. Natural and organic foods are expected to represent nearly 14% of food sales by 2020 creating a critical mass in terms of total food sales. Expect more retailers and food manufacturers to get on the natural and organic band wagon in the future.

food-salad-healthy-vegetables-mediumIt is clear that big food corporations have listened to their consumers and have adopted clean label to compete with the other products on the shelves. We can only expect to see more transparent clean labels in our stores in the future.

Consumers knowledge of health and nutrition has increased dramatically over the past decade. The way our food is made, packaged and labeled should continue to grow along with that knowledge.

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