Woman reading menu at restaurant

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Clean label presents a ‘significant’ opportunity for foodservice outlets to accelerate business growth and returns, according to a recent report from supplier Ingredion.

Titled ‘Put profitability on the menu’, the report explores key trends underpinning clean label growth, how foodservice businesses can tap into this and suggests new menu offerings. It also names bakery as the top global clean label category followed by dairy, cheese and carbonated soft drinks.

Globally, 75% of foodservice outlets say clean label is an important part of their business strategy and businesses in the EMEA region would like three quarters of their food and beverage offering to be clean label within the next two years [Atlas Ingredion Foodservice Research 2019]. Food operators that already offer clean label menu items reported that it had a positive impact on their business, including being able to pass on price increases to customers and increase margins.

Communicating this offering to customers is a key part of the process with 67% of European firms agreeing with this. Social media and company websites are useful tools here as well as the menu, according to Ingredion which noted increased transparency around ingredients lists, local sourcing and production methods will follow.

Notably, there is a difference in what terms consumers are most comfortable with across the globe, according to the report. European diners, for example, prefer ‘natural/all-natural’ as well as ‘no artificial ingredients’ and ‘no additives/e-numbers’. This is echoed in North America while consumers in South America and Asia Pacific also consider ‘low/reduced fat/sugar/salt’ to fall under clean label.

“What we are seeing is the potential for a rapid recovery as consumers act upon their pent-up demand for dine-out options, in turn driving stronger growth and creating opportunity within the sector,” said Daniel Haley, global platform lead – Clean & Simple Ingredients at Ingredion.

“Evidence shows that the foodservice industry is largely adopting clean label as a business strategy and that commitment toward these changes is long-term, which is wonderful. What is important though is that these foodservice operations enrich their consumers’ eating experiences with high quality clean label products formulated with ingredients they know and expect.”