Clean Label - Clear Label

The term "clean label" is particularly popular for products that are sold via retail. All kinds of media like to use this term when talking about food. But an exact definition is rarely or never given. "Clean Label" is not a legally protected term and everyone can interpret it in their own way. And this regularly causes the necessary confusion.

Consumers are increasingly aware of what they eat and want more transparency about their diet. Underlying this trend is the idea that consumers want to live healthier lives. In this context, 'healthy' is synonymous with 'prepared in a traditional way using natural raw materials'. Due to misinformation, half-truths and information not placed in the right context, some consumers no longer trust the food industry. They are convinced that the food industry is putting their health at risk in the name of corporate profit. And this was the birth of the term "Clean Label", a pure, clean, healthy list of ingredients on the label.

But what means "clean label" for one person is not the same as for another. Initially, the term was mainly used when there was no monosodium glutamate (E621) in the product. And therein lies the real reason for the consumers concern. Monosodium glutamate sounds like a terrible word to many. Add to that the explanation that this is an artificial flavour enhancer and for the average consumer this cannot be anything other than unhealthy and they feel cheated in their diet. Although much scientific literature disproves this perception, the consumer is always right. A first generation of 'Clean Label' products was developed, in which the use of E621 was avoided.

The train had been set in motion. If the idea existed that E621 was unhealthy, all E-numbers were quickly lumped together. The consumer no longer wanted to see any E-numbers on his label. And this soon became the new standard for "Clean Label".

Some retailers are pushing the boundaries further and further by removing all kinds of ingredients from the list of those ingredients that may be used to make their products. They only want to declare ingredients on their labels that the average consumer understands well.

This creates a proliferation of Clean Label definitions. These may be products without flavour enhancers, without E-numbers, without hydrolysed vegetable proteins, without yeast extracts, without flavourings,... or a combination of these.

The term 'Clean Label' is gradually changing into a 'Clear Label'.

Whatever your definition of "Clean Label", Flandria Foods either already has a solution in its range or can work with you to develop a 'tailor made' product that meets your definition of "Clean Label".