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The clean label as a reassurance in the food sector

Packaging is becoming more and more "talkative". The information on the packaging is useful for consumers in making an informed choice. Among them, the notion of clean label is explained in this article.

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What is a clean label?

There is no legal definition, except for organic products or products with a label. The clean label is a marketing concept that responds to consumer expectations in terms of sustainability in the areas of health, respect for the environment and ethics.

The clean label on pack is a clear, concise and intelligible format that will reassure the consumer at a glance. It is a label that responds to the simplicity of formulation or recipe of products that consumers expect.

Spearheading the clean label, the Nutri-score

We cannot talk about the clean label without mentioning the Nutri-score, which has helped consumers to become truly aware of health issues and is now well established. More and more people take it into account in their purchasing decisions, especially young people. Designed by scientists, the Nutri-Score was developed to make it easier for consumers to understand nutritional information and help them make informed choices.

Mobile applications to help consumer decision making

Beyond the notion of clean label, there is an increase of mobile applications that reassure consumers about the composition of products, the origin of ingredients and their potential harm. Food quality applications are very popular with shoppers. These independent apps are gradually leading shoppers to be more and more vigilant and knowledgeable.

The packaging: support for the clean label

Most packaging has a specific area dedicated to provide health/environmental/ethical information and claims. This gives the consumer access to all the benefits of the product at once in the same section of the pack.

Logos to prove environmental commitment

Logos help consumers to identify the environmental commitment of brands. The virtue of these logos, even if they are numerous, is to reassure the consumer and help them be more demanding in their choices.

Fair treatment of supply chain highlighted on packaging

Consumers are more and more concerned about the working conditions of women and men, fair compensations for producers or breeders. Ethics is an increasingly strong expectation among consumers.

Highlighting the producers on the packaging means taking them into consideration and putting them in the centre of the production chain and signifying a link with the final consumers.

Some brands are also committed to farmers or producers, with support or accompaniment programs.

Food manufacturers who make this ethical claim should provide a proof via right labelling, not to be accused for greenwashing.

Made in France is popular

Highlighting the local economy is also one of the main ways to reassure people about supporting the national economy and enhancing the value of the regions. The “Made in France” label is thus appreciated by consumers

In conclusion, sustainability is no longer an option for food brands. It is required to meet consumers’ expectations. The challenge for the coming years will be to identify the most relevant values and modes of expression for food products and brands, but also to find the right balance between better products and prices, in the context of high inflation.

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