Several speakers stressed the importance of taking a holistic view when formulating clean label products at a Sunday afternoon symposium. “You just can’t look at one ingredient when developing clean label products, you have to look at the entire product—texture, fat, flavor, preservatives, and more. It requires a holistic approach,” said Agnes Jones, Project Leader Technical Services, Ingredion. “You need to think about the product, consumer perceptions, and the regulatory environment,” added Stefan Hake with GNT USA. “When choosing colors from fruits and vegetables for a clean label application, you need to consider the medium or product, ingredients, processing, packaging and storage.”
Chef Michael Joy with Park 100 Foods discussed clean labeling from a culinary point of view. He said that many companies are “going back to the basics” because consumers buy what tastes good. “There is more interest in natural flavors, such as soy sauce, lemon, tomato, and mushroom—umami types that can reduce sodium,” said Joy. Other natural ingredients include natural starches and bean powder. The “back to basics” also includes recognizable cooking methods such as roasting, braising, and simmering.
Agnes Jones discussed functional native starches in clean label applications. “Native starches have limitations such as a short peak viscosity range and limited process tolerance, which results in undesirable texture,” said Jones. “Functional native starches perform similar to modified starches and can be labeled by their general name such as tapioca starch.” Functional native starches feature temperature tolerance, pH tolerance, shear tolerance, and are easy to use and handle.
As an example of a holistic approach to clean labeling, Jones discussed a case study of salad dressing. For the texturizer, the salad dressing replaced a modified starch with a functional native starch. Rosemary extract was used in place of EDTA as a preservative. For flavor, natural flavor enhancers replaced MSG. The nutritional profile and calories remained the same for both products.