- Food scientists at a panel at the IFT Expo this month said the “frustrating reality” of the clean label trend leaves them feeling handcuffed.
- The scientists said natural ingredients don't last as long on the shelf as artificial additives. They also said they have problems because many consumer concerns aren’t based on science.
- Panelists agreed they need to do a better job communicating food science to consumers, who increasingly distrust major food companies, avoid certain foods or ingredients, and gladly pay more for clean label food and beverages.
Manufacturers are working hard to take control of the consumer narrative that all artificial ingredients and flavors are bad.
"Sometimes we are looking for simple answers to complex problems," Porter Novelli’s Nutrition Director Michael A. DeAngelis told Food Dive. "Health and nutrition — getting food healthy — is not that simple. It is not a matter of take this out or add this in.”
Consumers should understand that taking out preservatives and additives, sugar and salt, and GMOs may create foods that don’t taste or look like what they are used to. It also may create obstacles for the food industry in food safety areas.
Manufacturers can respond by talking about labels with consumers, for example, pointing out that a GMO label wasn’t meant as a warning but a way to let consumers know what is in their food.
"When you look at consumer opposition to the use of GM technologies in food and account for the label, we found that overall the label has no direct impact on opposition," said Jane Kolodinsky, author of a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report that found GMOs are safe.