The New Norm for Dietary Supplement Labels (?)
Recap: What are "clean label" supplements?
All natural, gluten-free, allergen-free, non-GMO, organic, sustainably sourced – arguably, almost every dietary supplement trend that's made headlines over the last years can fit snugly within the parameters of this "trend." Why the quotation marks around 'trend'? Because it looks like this particular movement may be here to stay. What the brands are actually trying to communicate to consumers is that they have made an effort to source good ingredients and also communicates their intent as a responsible manufacturer.
This isn't the first time that we've taken a closer look at the "clean label" movement and given the way things are going it probably won't be the last.
"Clean Label" Meaning
Like we mentioned the last time that we covered clean label supplements, as of now there is no official (i.e. FDA-provided) definition for "clean label." That being acknowledged, if after sifting through the larger discussion concerning "clean labeling" you can put together a definition it would look something like this:
Clean Label supplements are those made with simple-to-understand and minimally processed ingredients. Typically, clean label supplements are free of synthetic ingredients or preservatives, GMOs, allergens and gluten.
“Clean Label” dietary supplements are those made with simple-to-understand and minimally processed ingredients. Typically, a “clean label” supplement will be free of synthetic ingredients or preservatives, GMOs, allergens and gluten.
Some production methods are perceived as less natural while some food ingredients are seen as unhealthy and unfamiliar, like artificial additives. Clean label refers to manufacturing a product using as few ingredients as possible, especially those ingredients that consumers identify as wholesome and naturally sourced. These clean label supplements have no artificial ingredients or synthetic chemicals, and it has become associated with “trust” with manufacturers of food.
This phenomenon, often referred to as the - clean label trend – has food manufacturers around the world sit up and take notice and they are eager to communicate to consumers, whether a certain ingredient or additive is not present or if the food has been produced using a more natural production method like organic agriculture.
Keeping all of this in mind, it's the responsibility of brand owners and manufacturers to create supplement products that stay true to these guidelines.
Clean Label Ingredient List
- Minimally processed
- Contains no additives
- Contains no preservatives
- All natural
- Sustainably sourced
What Are the Challenges While Creating Clean Label Supplements?
- When it comes to clean label supplements, businesses are under stress to reformulate foods and supplements by substituting artificial ingredients with natural or organic alternatives, due to a rise in consumer demand for natural, organic or additive-free foods and supplements.
- Procuring the ‘clean label supplement’ assurance is challenging, because of the lack of guidelines by FDA or any other regulatory agency, on the use of the term ‘natural’ in food labeling.
Industry & Consumer Interest in Clean Label Supplements and Manufacturing
Since January 2016, top nutraceutical industry publications (including the likes of NutraIngredients-USA, Natural Products INSIDER, Nutritional Outlook, and Food Navigator) have published dozens of pieces concerning the nature of clean label supplements – from what clean label has meant for the industry in the past, to what it may mean for the industry tomorrow.
So far as consumer interest is concerned, a recently released report on Clean Label Ingredient Market - Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2018 - 2023) by ResearchAndMarkets.com has pointed to some very interesting (and potentially massive) changes to how consumers are responding to clean label supplement products.
Here are some of the highlights from what the ResearchAndMarkets.com team found:
- Global clean label supplement market is expected to value USD 47.50 billion by 2023, registering a CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period.
- Consumers demand clean labels on the products to know what exactly they consume and at what level.
- Consumer preference for innovative flavors, health benefits, convenience, and alternative sources for nutrient supplements, has augmented the market.
- Western Europe accounted for 29% of total clean label ingredients market share.
When it comes to clean label supplements and the clean label trend, it seems likely that – at least for the foreseeable future – the "clean label" trend is here to stay.
What do you think?
Is "clean labeling" the real deal or just a flash in the nutritional world's pan? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! (And links to additional sources are always welcome)