Capitalize on “Clean label” Trend with Natural Extracts and Coloring Foods

What is a “Clean label”?

Consumers are increasingly paying attention to the composition of food and beverage products and how this information is communicated on the packaging. “Clean label” is the response to growing consumer demand for information and transparency. Although there is no concrete definition of “clean label”, in recent years the trend leans towards the more general definition of “clean eating”. This seems to be almost a lifestyle choice more so than a product classification, Mintel reports. Exercising, having a varied diet or choosing a specific dietary option, eating in a healthy manner- all of this evolving beyond “just nothing artificial”.

“Clean label” and natural ingredients go hand-in-hand

Consumers may describe “clean food” as something they can trust, something that is real and close to nature, and something that contains ingredients they are familiar with. Across the globe, food and drink innovations show growth in product launches with natural claims, such as no additives or preservatives, GMO-free, organic, wholegrain, and all-natural.

Percentage of product launches with a clean label claim*, 2014-2018

*Clean label: no additives/preservatives, natural, organic, GMO-free

Source: Mintel GNPD

Associations with “Clean”

In order to understand what clean label means for consumers, Sensient has conducted primary research with US consumers. The results show that the words “natural” and “extract” carry a lot of weight in relation to clean labeling. Consumers see “clean” as the closest to nature that they can get. In fact, 72% of 1,000 consumers polled that those two words most define “clean label,” and 61% believe they can taste the difference.

Defining Clean Label: Consumers’ Selections For “Most Clean” Ingredients


Natural Vanilla Extract


Natural Vanilla Flavor


Vanilla Extract


Vanilla Flavor

Source: Sensient Primary Research, US, 2018

Also, note that 2/3 of consumers reported in the same poll that clean label products taste different. This perception has become embedded in the buying public’s consciousness, so it surely should be addressed in product development and packaging.

When participants were asked how they identify the clean label products, the previous findings have been confirmed by these and other similar answers:

Natural Extracts

Sensient Natural Extracts deliver the authentic taste profiles and functions that consumers insist on, and they do so in a way that supports consumer demand for natural, clean-label products. They can be organic compliant and have the claim of provenance that manufacturers and consumers demand in their products. In addition to the variety of profiles and combinations that can be created from Sensient Natural Extracts, there are many other positives regarding their use:


They certainly won’t last forever as they are free from preservatives, but their shelf life is more than sufficient for storage and use over a specified manufacturing period.


Sensient Natural Extracts are created using several technologies so that each has excellent solubility for use in water or oil. This makes them ideal for use in multiple food and beverage applications.


Very few botanicals are unsuitable for extracts. Herbs, fruits, flowers and hops, spices, vegetables, teas, coffees, cocoas… The list continues to grow, meaning there is something suitable for any product in development.

Among many others, the Sensient Natural Extracts portfolio contains botanical, fruity, vanilla, herby, and functional flavors for example, which are all vegan and available in a flake/powder form.

Coloring Foods

Companies worldwide are now seeking out coloring foodstuffs to even better align with consumers’ growing need for natural, clean label, and simple ingredients. 25% of launches in the Middle East and Africa featured a natural claim:


*Natural claim: no additives, preservatives, GMO-free, organic, whole grain, all-natural

Source: Mintel GNPD

Coloring food products from Sensient are based on concentrates and extracts from specially selected edible plant sources with unique coloring properties. The portfolio originates from traditional foods, such as vegetables and fruits. During manufacture, very careful processing is used to secure the sensitive pigment components of the natural raw materials.

If you are interested in knowing more about our clean label compliant Natural Extracts or Coloring Foods, please, feel free to request a consult here.

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