Clean: Seven Consumer Trends in 2017

January 23, 2017
Consumer Flavor Ingredients Trends

This report is so jam-packed, we couldn't fit it all on the blog. Click here for the FULL details on the clean insights we'll cover in 2017!


You’ve probably noticed—food and beverage product development is experiencing a time of great change. At the heart of much of it are two words that you’ve heard numerous times: clean label. But what does “clean label” mean for you, or more importantly, for your consumer? We might all have a different perception, and that gives clean label a life of its own as definitions span the spectrum for each individual company, product and brand.

Clean label has transitioned from an industry-only term to one that consumers are learning more about daily. Consumers feel passionate and confident. They believe they are educated about food issues yet they’re concerned about what is left unknown. On the whole, consumers are looking to fit clean into the ultimate life goal: how to live longer while staying independent long-term. Just like us, consumers have individual, personal definitions of clean label. And we’ve identified seven key consumer trends for clean label that we believe reflect consumers’ feelings and actions.

Throughout 2017, we’ll be diving deep into clean label, highlighting seven trends in-depth and providing actionable insights to assist in your product development. At FONA, we believe change can be positive, especially when you know what to expect. Read on for a glimpse at what to look for this year. 
Click here for the full report! 

1. Power to the People

More than ever, consumers feel empowered to take control of their health driven by a strong desire to live a long life and live it independently. Consumers are taking control of their food choices by reading labels and understanding ingredients. They are motivated and driven to make healthy choices.
• 76% of consumers indicate it is extremely/very important to lead a healthy/balanced lifestyle.

• 77% of consumers indicate “eating healthy helps me feel in control of my life”

• 54% of consumers completely/somewhat agree with the statement “I select foods based on the nutritional facts panel on the package.

• 33% of consumers indicate that the package label has a lot of influence on their purchase/usage of healthy and natural products. This is higher than sales/reduced pricing which was indicated by 29% of consumers.

In this report, we’ll take a deeper look at this trend to understand:

• What does leading a healthy/balanced lifestyle mean to consumers?

• How are consumers choosing to eat healthy?

• What things are consumers considering when selecting foods based on the nutritional facts panel?

Critical questions for manufacturers to consider:

• Does my package label provide enough information or the right information for consumers to feel in control when determining whether or not to purchase?

• Does my product align with consumers’ goals for leading a healthy lifestyle?

• What does my product’s nutrition facts panel convey?

2. Rebalancing the Ratio

Consumers are rebalancing the ratio of ultra-processed foods vs. less processed foods that they consume. They are often choosing to shop the perimeter, seeking fresh foods as a way to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. At the same time, consumers are choosing organic products because they perceive them to be safer, more nutritious and fresher than non-organic products.
• 64% of consumers prefer foods that are minimally processed.

• In 2014, perimeter food sales were approximately $296 billion. Mintel estimates sales will reach $346 billion by 2019.

• Supermarket fresh prepared foods grew by an annual rate of 10.4 percent between 2006 and 2014, making it one of the highest performing segments in the entire food industry.

• Organic food sales grew 11% from 2014 to reach $39.7 billion in 2015.

In this report, we’ll take a deeper look at this trend to understand:

• What are consumers choosing when it comes to organic?

• What does “minimally processed” mean to consumers?

Critical questions for manufacturers to consider:

• What is my product portfolio mix between perimeter vs center of store?

• If not already in organic, is organic a potential area for expansion?

• How “processed” is my product?

We've broken the clean movement down to seven main trends, but we can't fit all the details on our blog. Click here for the full report! 

3. Seek & Avoid is the new M.O.

Consumers heightened food knowledge has resulted in a new M.O. when it comes to food and beverage choices. Consumers are seeking out particular ingredients such as fiber, protein, vitamins/minerals, omega-3s, whole grains and good fats. They are also avoiding ingredients they perceive as negative such as pesticides, HFCS, added sugar, and artificial sweeteners, colors or flavors. Consumers are flipping over the package and truly understanding the makeup of a product.
• 54% of consumers look for food/beverages with a short list of recognizable ingredients.

• 54% of consumers select foods based on the ingredient list on the package.

• 46% of consumers indicated they are trying to get more fiber in their diet, followed by protein (42%), and vitamins/minerals (40%).

• 48% of consumers indicated they are would like to get less pesticides in their diet, followed by HFCS (45%), and Sodium (42%).

In this report, we’ll take a deeper look at this trend to understand:

• What ingredients are on consumers’ watch list currently?

• What up-and-coming ingredients are consumers clamoring for?

• What information sources do consumers turn to when researching ingredients?

Critical questions for manufacturers to consider:

• Do my ingredients stand up to consumer scrutiny?

• Could my products benefit from inclusion of positive ingredients that consumers are seeking?

Click here for the full report. You'll see the four other clean trends we're exploring, including "Taste Reigns Supreme." 



At FONA, we know that clean is a continuum, not a checkbox. Consumers have diverse needs, and your product and its ingredients should align with those needs, no matter where they land. FONA is the answer to “what’s next?” in clean. From concept to manufacturing, we’ll be at your side the whole way.

Interested in organic flavors? Need to dive deep into clean without losing that signature taste? Contact us today to uncover new insights and solutions for clean.

Your priorities are our priorities. Let’s talk.


Sources: Natural Marketing Institute, Mintel,,, FoodThink, Pew Research Center