Beyond ingredients: Food processing as a tool for cleaner labels12 Jun 2018
Ingredients come first when companies think about developing clean label foods and drinks, but certain processing technologies also should be considered part of the clean label toolbox.
People have been processing foods for thousands of years: cooking, fermenting, drying, freezing, preserving and extracting. Yet when consumers talk about “processed food”, often they refer to products that should be eaten in moderation, if not totally avoided. For many, food processing does not fit with the concept of natural, wholesome, clean label foods.
However, the idea of clean label processing is beginning to gain ground, whether as a way to replace undesirable ingredients, or as a way to support ingredient changes.
One of the biggest challenges for clean label foods has been finding ways to keep food safe and attractive while retaining a reasonable shelf life, without using artificial preservatives. Apart from natural ingredients for preservation, some companies have looked to natural processes to extend the shelf life of their products instead, such as high pressure processing (HPP), which can extend shelf life by a factor of two to ten. It deactivates a range of common pathogens, such as salmonella, listeria and microorganisms associated with spoilage, while leaving smaller molecules like vitamins intact, and it has no impact on taste and texture. HPP is widely used for fresh juices, but can also be used for soups, sauces, ready meals, dips, meat and fish.
Similarly, the pulsed electric field (PEF) process uses a high voltage electric pulse to break the cell walls within a food product and destroy harmful microbes. Campden BRI is among the companies offering processes like HPP and PEF to ensure food safety, but such processes may provide additional benefits that fit with demand for cleaner labels. The organisation found that using PEF on potatoes to be used for chips, for example, led to sweeter tasting chips without any additional oil absorption.
Clean label processes can be used to improve products’ ingredient lists in other ways too. TNO Innovation has developed a technique using superheated steam, for example, that can modify ingredients like starch or flour to improve their functionality, and can be used to finish frying certain products to reduce total fat content.
Fermentation is another process being used to produce established ingredients in a way that consumers may consider more natural, such as sweeteners or preservatives. And certain processing technologies may give products the added bonus of a premium positioning, such as cold pressing or cold brewing for juices, vegetable oils, teas and coffees, among others.
When developing clean label products, manufacturers must contend with a rapidly evolving concept that encompasses allergens, artificial ingredients, animal welfare, responsible sourcing and sustainability. Consumer expectations have multiplied as the clean label trend has matured. Therefore, manufacturers should take a multifaceted approach that takes into account all aspects of ingredient sourcing and formulation – including processing.
Spike in counterfeit goods could damage ‘Make in India’ initiative, warns report
14 Sep 2020
Counterfeit products are rising in India and fast-moving consumer goods, including food, is in the top three worst-hit sectors. Greater traceability is needed to safeguard the national ‘Make in India’ initiative, says an industry report.Read more
Finding opportunities in Vietnam’s changing retail landscape
7 Sep 2020
Minimarkets, specialist stores and e-commerce platforms are leading retail growth in Vietnam, providing new opportunities for brands to boost sales, according to Kantar Worldpanel.Read more
Beware of ‘woke washing’: Ethical branding must reflect an ethical business
31 Aug 2020
Spanish chocolate manufacturer Lacasa is under pressure to change the name and logo of its Conguitos brand with a consumer-led petition - but experts warn against empty ‘cause marketing’.Read more
Federal lawsuit challenges US rules on ‘misleading’ GM labelling
24 Aug 2020
The Center for Food Safety has filed a federal lawsuit challenging USDA rules that mean genetic modification (GM) foods are labelled as ‘bioengineered’ – a move it says reduces transparency and causes consumer confusion.Read more
Brazil’s food waste law will put consumers at risk, warn experts
17 Aug 2020
Recent Brazilian regulation aims to fight food waste by encouraging food donations – but it puts public health at risk, warn consumer groups and legal experts.Read more
UK pledges to protect food standards during trade talks but public concern remains high
6 Aug 2020
British public concerns over lowering food safety standards continue to court US trade remain steadfast as the UK and US governments gear up for the next round of scheduled negotiations later this month.Read more
Pressure on baby milk manufacturers intensifies over mineral oil traces
3 Aug 2020
Consumer watchdog Foodwatch is calling for EU member states and the European Commission to publish the results of official tests on the presence of potentially harmful aromatic mineral oil in baby milk and infant formula.Read more
Flexitarians in China are revitalising the mock meat tradition
27 Jul 2020
Many Asian countries, China in particular, have traditions of mock meat but the region is developing a new, innovation-fuelled plant-based sector to meet the demands of urban flexitarians, say experts.Read more
PepsiCo Egypt CEO feels bullish about regional growth: ‘The opportunities are huge’
20 Jul 2020
PepsiCo recently announced a US$100m capital investments in Egypt, and its confidence in the country’s growth potential is unshaken even by coronavirus, says the CEO of PepsiCo Egypt.Read more
Sugar Association files citizen petition calling for clearer labelling of sweeteners
13 Jul 2020
The Sugar Association has filed a US citizen petition to require manufacturers to add front-of-pack disclosures regarding the use of non-nutritive sweeteners – but sweetener suppliers say ingredient lists already give consumers clear information.Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation