When it comes to beverages, the full concept of “clean” goes beyond incorporating natural ingredients into a formula. It aligns more with demonstrating the transparency of the product as a whole. This is because the premise behind “clean label” is consumers are skeptical of what manufacturers say about their products, so transparency is needed to build trust. Consumers want to see what is inside the products they purchase so they can easily determine whether a product is trustworthy, healthy and aligns with their values. This transparency can be demonstrated in three essential steps: obtaining clean ingredients, having a clean footprint and having a clean formulation. Achieving all three is the key to developing a truly clean label beverage.
Only 38 percent of U.S. consumers trust what companies say on labels about their food products, according to a 2015 report from Mintel, which was created for Applied Food Sciences Inc.’s (AFS) innovation retreat on clean label energy.
Natural is not enough. Just because an ingredient is grown in nature does not mean it is healthy. Certain factors easily can compromise the health and safety of a naturally derived ingredient. For example, the use of harmful pesticides in cultivation, or the use of harsh chemicals in processing, can leave behind residual substances that are nearly impossible to remove. Therefore, just because something is naturally sourced does not mean it is “clean.” Organic certification is one way to ensure ingredients are coming to the label in the most natural means possible.
“Because the term ‘all natural’ is under a lot of scrutiny, even our customers with non-organic product offerings are seeking to formulate with our USDA-certified organic ingredients,” said Jackson Zapp, vice president of innovation, AFS, which specializes in organic functional ingredients designed for beverage applications. “AFS has pioneered several organic…