“Better living through chemistry” is so 20th century. Clean label is a consumer-resonant term that’s compelling product formulators to rethink their product recipe. Ingredient suppliers are stepping up to the challenge to make everything old new again. Here are 10 companies we like.
Axiom Foods: The market leader in brown rice protein boasts a 2013 study showing its Oryzatein was equivalent to animal-based whey protein in building and maintaining muscle. “It’s things like this that are starting to shatter the old gold standard of whey protein,” said Axiom Foods’ CEO David Janow. “We are on target to support the global food supply chain with plant proteins, as world population growth by 2050 is expected to force us away from animal sources.” The company also works with government bodies and other manufacturers to set ethical standards and educate consumers about the power of plant protein in the food supply.
BI: Fiber-rich sweet potato powder provides an excellent nutritional profile with essential vitamins and minerals, protein and fiber. The favorable taste profile, versatile application form and clean label classification make the powder a consumer-friendly ingredient for everything from baby foods to beverages and snacks. Also, BI’s clean-label lentil concentrate is a plant-based protein that’s paired with BI’s new lucuma fruit powder for clean flavor with a clean label.
Cargill: When it comes to cleaner beverages, less is more. Less sugar, that is. Stevia and its rebaudoside components are providing plant-sourced, high-intensity sweetener solutions. ViaTech makes possible deeper levels of sugar reduction without the need for flavor maskers as with traditional bitter stevia leaf. Cargill also helps the healthy drink sector with plant gums and pectin to help with improved mouthfeel and creaminess for pH-neutral beverages, and chalkiness issues with protein precipitation in acidic pH drinks.
Frutarom: In response to the growing demands for vegan eating, the Frutarom Bright’n Free Red Rosy is a clean-label, all-natural red color range for plant-based meat analogs. This is important because food makers want to mimic not only the flavor and texture of meat but also the color in order to get the similar look and feel of meat. It’s heat-stable, making it suitable for items such as grilled, raw-cured and par-cooked vegetarian sausages and other foods undergoing a long cooking process.
Indena: One of the world’s great botanical suppliers, Indena has a policy of optimizing processes and rationalizing resources such as safeguarding water supplies, reducing air pollution and waste, and recycling and disposing of waste safely. It’s been part of the Responsible Care program, which maintains its commitment to improving health, safety and environmental performance. Its Environmental Management Committee commits the company to sustainability practices.
Ingredion: A clean-label leader, Ingredion has its Homecraft pulse flours that are made from fava beans, chickpea, yellow lentil or yellow pea. They contain around twice as much protein as cereal grains, are naturally gluten-free, and have a clean taste profile that make them excellent for snacks, breads, cakes, cereals and pasta. And you can add “source of protein” claims to product packaging to boot.
International Agriculture Group: We’ve lost our way. People used to consume 30 to 50 grams per day of resistant starch from whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Today we’re down to 5 grams per day. Here’s NuBana N200 Green Banana Flour, a resistant starch source that’s from fruit, not corn or potato starch. It labels up nicely and is good for cleaner label systems and products. Only 15 grams per day (half of a fruit serving) could help with regularity, satiety and fat-burning. Higher levels (20 to 35 grams) may support improved digestive health, insulin sensitivity and more fat burning. It also rings the paleo bell and is a good play for raw, vegan packaged goods.
Lessaffre Human Care: Protein comes from animals—and we all know the voracious carbon footprint of the bodacious bovine—or, increasingly, plants. But even plants have carbon impacts through agricultural practices—eight of the top 20 climate solutions have to do with farming and ag. Lesaffre has a new idea—make protein from yeast and bacteria fermentation. Its Lynside ProteYn is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, including branched-chain aminos. It boasts a PDCAAS score of a perfect 1.0, which is what the incredible edible egg scores. And it’s free of allergens like gluten, dairy and soy, as well as GMO-free, herbicide-free, pesticide free and has a low environmental impact.
Mazza Innovation: Botanical extraction solvents like hexane and acetone are causing concern among consumers who want some sort of chemical-free extraction process in their herbal supplements. Mazza has a novel PhytoClean Method whereby simple water is used under pressure and with different (moderate) temperatures to elegantly sift out the plant chemicals without the use of any sort of chemical carrier or trace solvents. In effect, the water behaves like an alcohol solvent. This is a great way to clean up the supplements world far back in the value chain.
Naturex: Where do raw materials come from? How are they processed? Does the finished ingredient contain the right actives in the right quantities? In which delivery system can you include the ingredients? The French company’s Source-Convert-Deliver customer-centric concept means sustainable sourcing of ingredients with full traceability and transparency, including ID Packs to provide comprehensive identification verification. For example, its Turmipure premium-grade organic turmeric extract (95 percent curcuminoids) is sourced from southern India, is USDA organic approved and offers guaranteed integrity and purity, which is important in today’s curcumin market that features adulteration concerns.