Cleaner, simpler labels to help manufacturers and consumers

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 25th July 2008

According to Laurent Michoud, of National Starch Food Innovation Europe, the future of food labelling will involve the reduction of confusion for consumers by providing clearer labels for them to peruse.

Speaking at this week’s 41st Annual Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Convention in Sydney, Michoud outlined the current market trends in the European food industry focusing on the move towards use of straight-forward terms in labelling, ‘clean’ labels and wholesome ingredients.

Designed to help food makers appeal to the health conscious consumer, a ‘clean’ label uses simple language to list ingredients, promoting the goodness of a product. Instead of listing the chemical name of the ingredient, some UK food manufacturers are now using the more generic term with some going as far as to simplify their whole ingredient list, removing additives and using statements such as, “no hidden nasties”.

“For consumers, natural-sounding and ‘everyday’ ingredients are much more appealing than scientific sounding ones,” recognises Michoud. “From a recent survey conducted we discovered that many consumers were fearful of the ingredient carageenan, yet, when explained as a seaweed extract, perceptions instantly changed to something that was potentially healthy and good for you.”

No longer just a trend, health and wellness is now paramount in people’s lifestyle and, in both Europe and Australia, there is increasing consumer concern regarding the use of additives in convenient food products. This in turn has spurred food manufacturers to look for alternatives in both their product development and labelling.

Consumers want simplicity, transparency and honesty, and Michoud believes that manufacturers who express their products in this way are expected to gain more brand loyalty and credibility in their marketplace.