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The 'clean' trend is shifting from the label to processing

December 1, 2017
Food & Drink

The global scope of the clean label trend was on display on the opening day of Food Ingredients Europe, taking place Nov. 28 – Nov. 30 in Frankfurt. It is clear the trend has gone mainstream globally and is beginning to move into ingredient and finished product processing techniques.

Processing techniques that may be perceived as “clean” include cold brewing, cold pressing, fermentation, high pressure processing and the use of super-heated steam. Such processes give consumers the perception that products manufactured using the techniques are more natural, according to several speakers who made presentations on the opening day of the tradeshow.

“This is all about what we’ve seen before as consumers are looking for clean label, more natural products,” said Kyra Teeken, a market analyst with Innova Market Insights, Arnhem, The Netherlands. “They want to know about the processing as well.”

Ms. Teeken said fermentation is a processing technique that is well known among consumers and up-and-coming techniques include cold brewing and cold pressing. She added that some processing techniques also may give products a premium positioning as well, referencing a non-alcoholic beverage sold under the Thomas and Evans brand that is essentially a distilled and filtered soft drink.

“We are also seeing such products as cocoa and teas undergoing barrel aging,” Ms. Teeken said.

Joost Blankestijn, a researcher with TNO Innovation, a contract research organization based in The Netherlands, said his organization is partnering with food manufacturers to research a variety of processing techniques. One technique TNO Innovation has worked with is super-heated steam, which involves heating steam much higher than normal steam so that it forms a dry gas.

Super-heated steam may be used for the finished frying of a variety of product applications, in order to produce products that are lower in fat, said Mr. Blankestijn. The technique may be used to also modify such ingredients as flour or starch to enhance their functionality.

Earlier this year TNO Innovation introduced a research initiative to develop food ingredients using microbiologic fermentation strategies. With consumer demand for cleaner labels and natural foods with milder processing, there is renewed interest in the process of fermentation as a method of generating authentic, value-added ingredients to foods, according to the research group.

“There are a lot of products made with the use of fermentation,” Mr. Blankestijn said. “The technique allows you to make all kinds of ingredients, including preservatives and sweeteners.”

He said the end goal of the project is to develop a full line of clean label ingredients.

By Keith Nunes

Source: Food Business News

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