Consumers want to know the composition of their food. Therefore, they pay more attention to the product label. Consumers prefer short, clean and clear labels, with mainly natural ingredients and ingredient names that they know or understand. Laurence Herbert, Senior Product Manager at Puratos, explains how Puratos responds to the demand for clean(er) labels.
'The demand for cleaner labels is growing year after year. Especially in North-America and in Europe, cleaner label is very much alive in the public opinion and we receive a lot of requests from our customers. In other regions like Asia the cleaner label market is developing more slowly, but we're getting requests are coming surely but steadily. Cleaner label is no longer a niche. It represents a substantial part of our business.'
Cleaner where possible
At Puratos we have a huge heritage of products that have been successful for decades already. Like S500, which is known as the best bread improver. For these products we offer our standard range, and cleaner label alternatives. Every new product is by definition being formulated in such a way that it is as clean as possible right from the start.
Cleaner label demand is especially high amongst industrial bakeries and patisseries and retail customers. For some customers it’s even a pre-requisite. 'You don’t enter to offer an innovation, unless your solution is cleaner label. We expect this to be more and more the case in the upcoming years. At Puratos we develop cleaner label solutions based not on our own definition but on what it means to a specific customer. It’s often a tailor
-made approach. We listen closely to what our customers find most important and relevant.'
Clean label is a widely accepted term that is used in the industry, but for which no regulatory definition exists. 'The public opinion around it is continuously evolving and differs significantly between regions and countries. Today we get certain requirements but these will continue to evolve in the future. A clean label product over time might become "even cleaner" as we find ways to remove or replace even more ingredients. Clean label is a moving target. At Puratos we therefore find it more appropriate to opt for the term “cleaner label” as it shows it is not an end state but an ongoing process.'
At Puratos, having expertise in ingredients for bakery, patisserie and chocolate, we always start from the finished product. We are often able to help create shorter and clearer ingredient lists for a finished product, as we master the interactions between all ingredients. Take a filled muffin for example. We offer all the product's ingredients: the mix to bake it, but also the filling. By looking for synergies between the different components we guarantee that we can reduce the total number of ingredients mentioned on the label.
All about priorities
Any product development starts from the specific requirements of our customer, be it functionality or performance, quality and value . Based on that, we will always opt for the best solution. At Puratos offering quality is key. Despite the need for cleaner labels, some ingredients cannot easily be replaced to guarantee product performance or food safety for example. In order to mix oil in a water phase emulsifiers will always be needed to avoid separation. Long shelf-life will require the use of preservatives or aseptic processing. Puratos’ innovation teams are continuously pushing hard to develop new methods and solutions to answer to our customers (future) cleaner label needs.
At Puratos, we use only ingredients in our products that have a specific function in the product. This can be to assist the professional in their daily work, or it can be to improve the product itself. Removing, reducing or replacing ingredients to create cleaner labels might come at a price. Adaptations will in some cases unmistakably effect the product’s functionalities. Removing preservatives in fillings, for instance, will decrease shelf life and add logistical complexity and costs, as it requires cooled transport and storage. A product might become less stable, leading to more spillage during production. And the ‘cleaner’ alternative might come at a higher cost price and with a higher food safety risk.
The future is clean
Clean labels have been at the top of the trend charts for years now and there is no doubt that they are here to stay. “Looking to the geographical importance of clean label, the most stringent requirements currently come from Europe and North America. This was a gradual process that took several years. We expect for other regions that the demand will pick up way quicker. Suddenly it will hit Asia and Latin America for example. The benefit for Puratos is that we already have a lot of knowledge and solutions allowing us to anticipate this evolution.
Curious to know which Clean(er) Label solutions Puratos has to offer on your local market? Please contact your local Puratos representative to find out!