Study: Food & Beverage Brands Are Cashing In On Clean-Eating



One-third of food and beverage sales now come from “clean label” products, says Nielsen.


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When it comes to food marketing, transparency sells.

New research from Nielsen found that marketing product packaging with “clean” attributes (e.g. non-GMO, all-natural, or organic) leads to greater sales in food, beverage and fast-moving consumer goods categories.

Sales for products with “organic” messaging are up 10 percent year-over-year, and those labeled “all natural” and “no artificial ingredients” are up roughly 8 percent.

Interestingly, the sales lifts applied to categorically healthy products and “indulgent” products—like salty snacks, ice cream and candy—alike. The big takeaway: People want to make sure their food is actual food, no matter what they’re eating.

The study also found that consumers are increasingly becoming wary of the dangers of sugar—and rightfully so. Per Nielsen, more than 90 percent of products in the snack and granola bar category contain added sugars. Earlier this year, Bloomberg ran a story with the headline, “Is Sugar the New Tobacco?” The New Yorker ran a similar piece, exploring the methods in which “Big Sugar” has masked the harmful health effects of their products.

Following the approach of companies like RXBar and Brandless, CPG giants are increasingly touting the organic attributes of their products, and in some cases, reformulating them entirely. Mediapost points out that Triscuit (part of the Mondelez International family) is now a non-GMO product.

Online databases like SmartLabel have even emerged to help consumers navigate the ingredients in the products they buy, and CPG companies like Mondelez are cooperating by hosting the information within their own online properties. A similar testing lab and database, Labdoor, exists for the supplement industry.

According to Nielsen’s research, 68 percent of consumers surveyed said they’d pay more money for food and beverage products with “clean” ingredients. In parallel, Amazon has just announced plans to begin dropping the prices of such foods at Whole Foods as early as next week.

As consumer behavior shifts to favor healthier lifestyles, companies are following suit by reformulating their products to favor more natural ingredients—and then marketing those attributes via product packaging and even large-scale branding campaigns.


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