Clean label is a growing trend in the baking industry that is largely influenced by consumers looking for alternative ways to consume their favorite baked goods. They are demanding healthier, simpler and more familiar products.
Baking clean label products requires different ingredients, formulations, processes and quality control approaches. Currently, there is no absolute definition for clean label. Instead, the concept involves:
A simple and short ingredient list
Ingredients that are “all natural” and contain no chemicals, no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavor agents
Minimally processed ingredients
Ingredients that are easy to understand
The “clean label” concept arose from consumers trying to understand and easily identify ingredients on food labels. With people paying more attention to health and wellness, they tend to question the sources and suitability of food. As a consequence, the clean label movement has become a growing consumer trend. This also provides the opportunity for food manufacturers to market their newly developed “clean label” products.
How clean label works
Clean label is an abstract concept that depends on who context. There is no identifiable standard list of ingredients, because the consumer definition of a clean label product keeps evolving. However, there is a general consensus of what to look for. Simplicity seems to be a major cue to the ingredient statement.
Clean label products market to consumers focusing on a healthy lifestyle and consuming only wholesome, nutritious food. Also, it attempts to remove any ‘unnatural’ element of food from diets. In 2014, one out of ten new products launched in the U.S. had an “organic” claim, and new products labeled as “GMO-free” launched globally grew more than 40%.1
Approaches to clean label: 2,3,4
Ingredients / formulation
Reduce/eliminate additives such as artificial flavors and colors, chemical dough conditioners and preservatives.
Use natural acids such as vinegar, cultured flours, raisin juice to replace traditional mold inhibitors.