Clean label-loving Millennials pose a challenge for food retailers
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine.
By whatever name, “clean label” products are hot and on-trend with consumers, representing a big opportunity. But what are clean label products, anyway?
Some folks define them as those without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or trans fats. Others point to short lists of pronounceable ingredients.
The push for cleaner labels, less processing and simple ingredients is picking up strength. Consumer ambivalence toward the processed food industry is clear in a proprietary Packaged Facts National Consumer Survey conducted in January 2015 among 2,284 U.S. respondents age 18+. Fully 67 percent of surveyed consumers favor groceries with fewer and simpler ingredients, and 61 percent agree that “there are specific ingredients I avoid and make sure aren’t present in the packaged foods I buy.”
In addition, about two out of three consumers take nutritional content statements, ingredient-free statements (a clean label element), and statements about health benefits (a nutraceutical element) into consideration when buying packaged foods and beverages. And 79 percent and 78 percent of consumers, respectively, consider the “ingredients list” and the “Nutrition Facts panel” very or somewhat important to their food and beverage purchasing decisions, with more than half of consumers considering them “very important.”
Product preferences particularly define Millennials who demand more out of retailers in curating better options, according to Elsha DeJong, director of sales at Five Star Foodies.
Joe Kent, director of consumer brands at InnovAsian Foods, says Millennials are known for being “beyond the flip” — they expect vendors to engage with them on the front of the package so they can more easily calculate health benefits or see nutrition callouts.
Whether shoppers know and use the term “clean label” or not, they’re definitely looking for products along the lines mentioned above. It’s no surprise that “clean label” was touted at seemingly every booth during the recent Expo West show in Anaheim. Both retailers and manufacturers are eager to get on board. This, along with trending consumer research, suggests we may be entering the first phase of a clean label tsunami.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How big is the potential of “clean label” products? Will Millennials help drive them closer to the mainstream? How can retailers capitalize on this segment?