Study shows why the clean label trend is worth pursuing

Dive Brief:

  • A survey of 1,300 consumers across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region done by Ingredient Communications found more than half (52%) were willing to pay 10% more on a food or drink product containing known, trusted ingredients, according to a report in Grocery Headquarters. Nearly a fifth (18%) said they'd pay a premium of 75% or more for favored ingredients.

  • Recognition of ingredients was one of the biggest drivers of product choice, with more than half of respondents (52%) considering it an important factor. Slightly more respondents  — 53% — put a priority on being able to see nutrition information on packages, and 55% placed a premium on price.

  • Richard Clarke, director of Ingredients Communications, said these results suggest that co-branding with a well-known, popular product could enhance food or drink brands, and be seen as worthy of that premium price in the marketplace.

Dive Insight:

Manufacturers are embracing food packers are supporting “clean label” efforts — which are inspiring reformulations of products to eliminate chemical-sounding ingredients. Many major manufacturers are undertaking product overhauls to simplify the ingredients in beloved products.

This is paying off as more consumers pay closer attention to what's in their food, but the trend hasn't completely taken over. Studies have found that consumers are a little less concerned about the ingredients in indulgent and snack foods, so it might not make sense for all manufacturers to sink their time and money into cleaning up their ingredient lists.

Co-branding has worked in food, as well as with other kinds of products. To take a look at something non-edible, wholesale values of sports apparel rose from $28.17 billion in 2009 to $34.4 billion in 2015, according to Statista. Back in the food industry, co-branding has been a trend with products ranging from Dunkin' Donuts Pop-Tarts to Girl Scout Cookie cereal.

Soda companies have attempted to get into ingredient branding, with Pepsi and others launching drinks that announce they are made with real sugar. While backlash against sugar and soda in general may prevent those products from becoming popular, the future of these sorts of label claims may be interesting — especially when the ingredient is something considered "healthy," like spinach. Lucrative opportunities may also exist for well-known ingredient suppliers, like name brands of herbs and cooking staples. 

Filed Under: Manufacturing Ingredients Marketing