Companies and consumers are shifting away from "natural" claims, according to Innova Market Insights.
Seventy-two per cent of consumers said they prefer products with ingredients they recognize and would use at home.
“Simpler ingredient lists or naming ingredients in such a way that it sounds like something you would use at home, so that makes a product look approachable and safe,” said Yasemin Ozdemir, market analyst for Innova Market Insights, a research firm based in Duiven, The Netherlands.
Larabar, a brand of General Mills’ natural and organics division, offers a line of fruit and nut bars containing between two and nine ingredients.
“So, that’s already a different approach to clean label,” Ms. Ozdemir said. “You don’t necessarily have to state the product is 100% natural.”
Companies may provide visual cues to consumers that a product’s ingredients are derived from nature.
“Brand creation based on natural themes or words or imagery, such as having huge pictures of fruits or vegetables on the front of pack, is something we definitely see a lot of on snacks and soft drinks as well,” Ms. Ozdemir said.
Kind bars, Clif Mojo bars, and similar products are packaged in see-through wrappers, offering consumers a peek at the product before purchasing.
“You get to see through the packaging what the product is, which is more of an implicit than an explicit way to convey naturalness and clean label,” Ms. Ozdemir said.
Nearly a third of consumers said a product containing only natural ingredients is an important influential factor in trying a new brand or product. Ingredients perceived as fresh, such as fruit, may signal a simple label to shoppers. Yoplait Fruitful from General Mills claims each cup brims with “real fruit and fewer than 10 simple ingredients without artificial flavors of sweeteners.”
“In line with that whole clean label trend, there are certain ingredients that are doing especially well in that environment,” Ms. Ozdemir said. Coconut milk, kale, chia, stevia, sprouted grains, seeds and nuts, cold-pressed juices, grass-fed milk, honey, raw cacao and non-bioengineered ingredients are positioned to benefit from clean label-seeking consumers.
As consumers increasingly avoid artificial ingredients, new products emphasize the use of real fruit and other natural flavors or sweeteners.
“Agave, for example, is used as sweetener nowadays because it is very natural, made from the agave fruit,” Ms. Ozdemir said. “We are seeing products like that more and more.”