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More than 20 percent of new U.S. products tracked in 2014 had a clean-label positioning, up from 17 percent in 2013, according to Innova Market Insights research.
The Arnhem, Netherlands-based company noted significant rises in the use of clean-label ingredients in such products as natural sweeteners, including stevia and monk fruit; natural colorings like those based on spirulina, elderberry and beetroot; and thickeners such as tragacanth and gellan gums.
In response to American consumers' demands for shorter, more recognizable ingredient lists, manufacturers have been touting the naturalness and origins of their products, Innova found. Without a governmental definition of the term "natural," however, more clarity and specificity is needed, with consumers, retailers, industry and regulators all pushing for more transparency in food labeling.
"This demand for clean labeling has now brought the need for clear labeling equally to the fore," said Lu Ann Williams, Innova's director of innovation, "resulting in a move to clearer and simpler claims and packaging for maximum transparency and necessitating an industry response in terms of reformulation and new communication strategies."
Innova identified "From Clean to Clear Label" as the first of its top 10 trends for 2015.