Ingredion research reveals clean label growth among European manufacturers

A new wave of decade-spanning research from Ingredion states that clean label products are set to dominate portfolios within the next two years making up over 70% — up from 52% in 2021.

The rise supports consumer preference for transparency and simplicity in ingredients, which is a key trend across the European food and beverage industry today.

The proprietary study, named ATLAS, was conducted in partnership with Clear Seas Research. It also found that 99% of European manufacturers see clean label products as essential to their business strategy, with 87% already incorporating these into their products. This reflects the industry’s commitment to transparency and simplicity in ingredients, in line with increasing consumer demand for recognisable ingredients.

Constantin Drapatz, senior marketing manager – clean & simple food ingredients, at Ingredion, noted the “overwhelming” response from food manufacturers, making clean label part of their business strategies with more than half of manufacturers reporting increased revenue and margins without raising prices.

“For more than a decade our ATLAS research confirms the consumer´s desire for transparency and healthier eating. We are very proud of this research; our company is not named when conducting surveys and customers around the world have given us confidence in our results by re-confirming insights.  It’s evident that clean label and nutrition profile are not just consumer preferences but are driving business growth.

“The industry’s increasing move towards sugar reduction, especially through low-calorie natural-origin sweeteners, aligns with the health-conscious consumer base and fosters innovation in product development. This shift meets the demand for healthier options and also marks a broader trend towards health and wellness, highlighting the critical role of ingredient selection in future food and beverage offerings.”

The study also demonstrates that the adoption of clean label strategies is linked to higher product quality, a more positive brand reputation, and attractiveness to new customers.

Drapatz added: “The results represent a continuum post-Covid 19. During the pandemic there was a boost of consumer´s choice of products with labels and ingredient lists in line with their values and perception of health. Despite the more challenging economic environment, the industry has expanded their focus and relevance of clean label in their business. By focusing on ingredients that are recognisable and part of a short ingredients list, manufacturers can tap into a growing market segment that values both transparency and quality.

“This approach responds directly to the consumer desire for cleaner labels and presents an opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves in a competitive market — and shows how manufacturers are actively contributing to a healthier food ecosystem.”

Ingredion‘s insights offer a comprehensive blueprint for food and beverage manufacturers aiming to align with the evolving consumer preferences towards clean label and sugar-reduced products. As the industry moves forward, these strategies will not only meet consumer demands but also drive innovation and growth within the sector.

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