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More Food Products Come Clean


Even as manufacturers and the FDA continue to parse the word “natural,” “clean” is emerging on more food label and menu claims. And like “natural,” there are no regulations to define “clean” —which leaves room for a lot of interpretation.

A survey of the recent International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) trade show floor suggests that “clean” ingredient claims are often associated with other words, ranging from “simple” and “artisan” to more specific terms such as “non-GMO,” “certified organic,” “identity preserved,” “sustainably farmed” and “no bromates.”

History has shown that vague blanket terms can create backlash (think green-washing) and FDA scrutiny, so some foodservice operators are already being specific in their ingredient cleanups. QSR magazine reports that pizza delivery megachain Papa John’s is eliminating 14 artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners and flavor enhancers from its ingredient supplies, in an effort that began as an open letter from chief executive officer John Schnatter  to the moms and dads of America in June. Sean Muldoon, Papa John’s chief ingredient officer, says the brand wants to use short, simple-sounding ingredients, according to QSR, and the company lists all the ingredients for each product on its website to be transparent with customers.

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Ingredient choices based on store shoppers’ priorities
  • Staff-led definition of “clean” that is communicated to customers
  • Explanations available for in-store product ingredient choices
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