‘Clean label’ is defined as ingredients and products that are either or all, natural, organic, and non-GMO, with no exposure to chemical or synthetic additives. The growing level of consumer awareness about the ill-effects of artificial food additives/ingredients present in food products is a major driver for consumer demand for clean label products, giving rise to the trend of clean eating.

The trend of ‘clean-label’ has given rise to the sub-trend of ‘Free from food’ products, which refer to ingredients or products that are free-from various aspects, including nuts (allergen sources), dairy (lactose-free), GMO, and animal origin. As consumers become aware of what they consume, they increasingly focus on the list of ingredients mentioned on the product. The high level of consumer specificity with respect to ingredients or product content is a consequence of health concerns and growing instances of food safety. According to the publication by Ingredion (US), in 2016, the company conducted a survey on current clean label opportunities for manufacturers and retailers in the dairy and bakery categories. Findings showed that 30% of the consumers are actively seeking products that have clean label claims. In comparison, 70% of the consumers are aware of clean label claims wherein the claims influence their purchasing decision.

  • Impact on Types of Clean Label and Free from Ingredients

Source: Secondary Research, Primary Interviews, Related Research Publications, Industry Journals, Press Releases, and MarketsandMarkets Analysis

  1. 1 Impact of covid-19 on clean label and free from Products

Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers worldwide have increasingly become health conscious with a focus on boosting their immunity and improving their overall wellbeing. Factors such as preventive healthcare measures have gained higher weightage in the minds of consumers, and preferences are experiencing a shift toward products that will aid consumers to reach their goals. This is expected to influence their dietary preferences as they become increasingly selective of ‘what they consume.’ As a result, the consumer’s focus is expected to shift more toward functional foods, fortified foods, natural, organic foods, and plant-based food that are promoted with health benefiting claims, safety, and sustainability. Furthermore, the origin of coronavirus from an animal source in Wuhan has already affected consumer perceptions toward animal sources of food products due to social media influence and rumors. This can result in a shift of consumer preference toward products that are free from animal origin, with the sub-trend only becoming more prominent in the days to come.

Global Impact on Clean Label and Free From Products, by Region

Note: Bar graphs in the above figure represent a favorable degree of impact on meat and meat substitutes due to COVID-19.

Source: Secondary Research, Primary Interviews, Related Research Publications, Industry Journals, Press Releases, and MarketsandMarkets Analysis

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, consumers in the North American and European regions already had a positive inclination toward clean label and free-from products. This is attributed to the already-existing health concerns on obesity, allergy, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, among others. The high medical cost is another factor driving the trend of ‘clean eating’ in these regions. Regions such as Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa will have a medium and low positive impact on clean label and free from markets, respectively. Factors such as lower adoption rate due to the lack of awareness and the high cost of clean label and free-from products currently hinder the market growth in these regions. However, the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to influence the consumer attitude and approach toward clean label products with growing awareness and acceptance over the period.

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