Q&A: Innovative Solutions for Clean Label Offerings

October 2022

Over the past few years, the clean label trend has taken supermarkets and foodservice locations by storm as consumers continue to demand products with recognisable ingredients. With a projected market size of over $64 billion by 20261, the clean label craze isn’t going anywhere. For formulators, this means new products must not only follow the simple ingredient guidelines, but must also incorporate the exciting health benefits that grab the consumer’s eye and the delicious tastes that capture their tastebuds.

We spoke with Kathy De La Bastide, Research and Development Manager at Chaucer Foods, to learn more about how to remain innovative in a market quickly filling up with clean label offerings.


Q: From your viewpoint, where do you see clean label innovation heading?

A: Consumers are becoming more interested in clean label formulations that have the same—or better—taste, texture and nutritional content as their favourite products. Instead of consuming boring options, they want cookies, cakes, and snack mixes to be re-invented with a clean label twist. By incorporating the ingredients consumers trust, like freeze-dried strawberries, within familiar foods, formulators can bring an untapped level of excitement to fan-favourites.

Q: Are other industry trends helping boost clean label innovation?

A: While there was originally a strong distinction between trends like plant-based and clean label, consumers are now demanding that we combine the two. As a result of many plant-based products having a lengthy ingredient list of additives, many consumers feel like their plant-based options just aren’t healthy. By creating a clean label, plant-based product, consumers can feel good about enjoying a product that is not only sustainable and plant-based, but also has the benefits of easily recognisable ingredients.

Q: Why do you believe consumers have such a strong preference for clean label offerings?

A: Consumers want to feel confident that they’re buying wholesome food. During times of uncertainty, many consumers note that they feel more at ease when they truly know what ingredients they’re eating. Ranging from products like traditional shelf-stable snacks to fresh bakery desserts, the impact made by the clean label trend is here to stay.


Q: The clean label trend is nothing new. How can brands continue to innovate while remaining “clean”?

A: By using naturally clean ingredients that consumers trust, like freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, formulators can develop new flavour and colour pairings that intrigue their consumer’s tastebuds. Instead of sticking with traditional flavours and colours, trying out new and exciting combinations lets the consumer explore new tastes, without sacrificing their health goals.


Q: What challenges may formulators run into when innovating a clean label product?

A: When formulators transform standard cupboard products to fit the clean label trend, the shelf life of the clean label ingredients used may have either a shorter, or an inconsistent shelf life. Natural ingredients are also prone to variations in price, taste, texture—and sometimes functionality. Due to the freeze-drying process, Chaucer’s ingredients lock-in the desired taste, textures, colours and extended shelf life—which can help with some of the inconsistencies associated with using natural ingredients.


Q: What Chaucer Foods’ ingredients are best suited to foster innovation for clean label formulations?

A: A major benefit provided by both our freeze-dried and baked ingredients are their clean label qualities, along with the manufacturing process which creates the longer shelf life. Naturally clean label, our freeze-dried ingredients introduce all the health benefits consumers love from fresh foods, while also delivering an extended shelf life. The technology and manufacturing behind our baked range uses traditional methods with authentic ingredients, resulting in a product consumers can recognise.


Q: How can Chaucer Foods help formulators achieve clean label innovation?

A: Whether it’s snacking or sauces, our freeze-dried ingredients can help formulators innovate products that don’t have refined sugars, as well as are free-from artificial colours and flavours. Our formulated smoothie range can also incorporate other clean label ingredients, such as vegetables, yoghurts, spices and botanical extracts for added functional benefits. We are also developing recipes that are focused on the well-being of the consumer that help with digestion, immunity and energy—whilst remaining clean label. Our expertise helps formulators develop the next generation of delicious clean label offerings for consumers to enjoy.

When formulators transform standard cupboard products to fit the clean label trend, the shelf life of the clean label ingredients used may have either a shorter, or an inconsistent shelf life. Natural ingredients are also prone to variations in price, taste, texture—and sometimes functionality. Due to the freeze-drying process, Chaucer’s ingredients lock-in the desired taste, textures, colours and extended shelf life—which can help with some of the inconsistencies associated with using natural ingredients.

“Clean Label Ingredients Market By Type” Allied Market Research. 2020.

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