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Clean labeling – a trend that is here to stay

Clean labeling – a trend that is here to stay

Naturally healthy: It is becoming increasingly important for modern consumers to eat consciously. Emphatically pure, unmodified products are expressly in, while various additives and ingredients are better left out. But how can this special attitude to life be communicated on the packaging? The clean labeling trend provides the answer. Because here, the less-is-more principle already starts with the design.

What is Clean Labeling?

Gone are the days when the consumer’s interest was aroused by promises that were as full-bodied as possible. Today, renunciation is the order of the day. More and more customers want to see a clear indication on the packaging of what the product [b]does not[/b] contain: This deliberate omission usually includes ingredients deemed unhealthy or otherwise worthy of rejection. These include colorants and preservatives, artificial flavors and taste enhancers, but also sugar, gluten and hydrogenated fatty acids.

Clearly identifiable, the label thus bans either entire classes of substances or individual substances. Similarly, some qualified terms can be defined more precisely by an asterisk in the small print. For example: without artificial colorants – *but with natural colorants from red beet or curcumin.

Gen Z wants to know

Today, Generation Z in particular is considered the most important target group for Clean Labeling. It all starts with Clean Eating, i.e. the conscious examination of one’s own diet. This trend can be traced back to the US nutrition expert Tosca Reno, among others. The quintessence is a list of ingredients that is as short as possible – a maximum of five, as few processing steps as possible, and the purest ingredients. More than 80 percent of our well-being depends on our diet. Reason enough to want to know more precisely what a product has to offer the body.

With Clean Laben, Clean Eating is moving from the personal kitchen to the larger scale of supermarkets and stores. It is a sustainable and health-conscious counter-trend to the seemingly endless supply of industrially produced food.

Beispiel für Clean Labeling Trend

All-round conscious consumption is the trend

The Clean Label is not just reserved for food packaging. In the cosmetics industry in particular, everything to do with Clean Beauty is extremely popular with modern consumers. Here, too, the aim is to derive a special benefit from the product by using ingredients that are as clean as possible and consciously endorsed. Thus, corresponding shampoos, creams or make-ups should not only feign temporary beauty or pleasure, but actually help the body to become more beautiful and healthier in the long term thanks to thoughtfully designed ingredients.

At the same time, consumer interest does not stop at their own bodies when it comes to wanting clean compositions. It should also be clean in terms of the environment and sustainability. This comprehensive cleanliness is an increasingly decisive factor in branding. It is communicated by an equally clean label. In the finished design, however, this involves much more than the usual inscriptions à la: “free from …”, “without …” and “free from …”.

The Clean Label and its multifaceted implementation

In the visual implementation, a purist look shakes hands with the pure ingredients. A correspondingly minimalist design captures the spirit of the times and at the same time excellently communicates the product’s message, which is reduced to the essentials. The result is a straightforward look that inspires confidence.

From the letters to the statement to the imagery, the design is restrained. Everything appears pristine and unaffected to the eye, almost somewhat naked and exposed. This open look carries a clear declaration of the ingredients. Concise, striking references to pure ingredients or their ecological cultivation and degradation are just as much a part of this as the classic free-from messages. The consumer sees at first glance what he is getting.

Instead of overabundance, the brand comes to the fore: because the all-around restrained and rather discreet design leaves room for brand centricity. The space that might otherwise have been taken up by a lavish food shot now becomes an open stage for the brand name.

Transparency instead of elaborate food shots

Clean Labeling immediately sets itself apart with one clear feature: the otherwise frequently represented food shots are only used in a subordinate way here. Rather small, less pompous images of the pure raw materials replace elaborate arrangements or serving suggestions. The omission can even go one step further and completely hide food shots. The focus is then on the brand, the declaration and the purity flowing out of everything.

Transparency can be understood quite literally in Clean Labeling: Transparent packaging that allows a view of the contents is often used. In this way, the consumer learns not only through words, but also through clearly visible facts, what he is getting.

But transparency, especially in clean labeling design, must also be understood in a figurative sense. It is essential that the clean messages are actually based on the truth – and not on some dirty marketing trick.

Beispiel für Clean Labeling Trend

“Free from … ” is not so without

The obligation to tell the truth is even a must in this case. Otherwise, there is a risk of violation of German law (§ 11 LFGB, regulations for protection against deception). Of course, the – increasingly strict – European Health Claims Regulation must also be complied with. If it says “no”, then it must also say “no”.

However, the impression must not be created that the non-use of a specific ingredient is a sensation, if this ingredient or this upper category would be completely unusual or even prohibited for the respective product anyway. The packaging for mineral water offers a simple example here: advertising the water as emphatically vegan would be superfluous – and not permissible.

In addition to the legal aspects, which are basically self-evident, however, the focus is on consumer confidence. After all, those who are attracted by the clean labeling trend want precisely this exact insight into the origin and composition of their food. As soon as the appeal of exaggerated or unjustified promises begins to resonate, any consumer’s trust in the brand dwindles – but especially, of course, in a customer group whose particular interest lies in pure transparency.

Conclusion – simply better clean

Clean labeling identifies products with pure ingredients or marks the non-use of various additives. The clean content reflects the minimalist packaging. Provided that the claims in the design are rooted in a ground of solid facts, Clean Labeling offers an enormous opportunity for branding and product marketing. Primarily for consumers of the younger generation, it has become a key driver and thus a must. Since it is also a globally established lifestyle, the clean labeling trend brings with it pronounced future potential: It is here to stay.

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