With the global sales of clean-label products projected to reach $180 billion by 2020*, clean label is no longer an upcoming trend, it’s firmly established.

Big brands are giving artificial colours and flavourings the boot, but, consumers often aren’t aware how complex these changes can be and tend to take the results for granted. Indeed, after facing huge amounts of pressure from consumers, Papa John’s spent a whopping $100 million to clean up its menu back in 2015.

Natural ingredients are not only difficult to source they are also often more costly than artificial ones. In recent months, natural vanilla extract became more expensive than silver after a cyclone hit the world’s top grower Madagascar. Some artisanal manufactures were forced to stop producing vanilla flavoured ice cream, while others switched back to the artificial alternative, vanillin.

These high prices are unlikely to deter consumers, quite the opposite in fact. Recent research has shown that nearly 9 in 10 consumers who read labels are willing to pay more for food perceived as clean^.

Despite the significant hidden costs behind a ‘clean label’ ingredient list, we’re confident that brands will continue to adapt their products to meet consumer demand. After all, what the consumer wants, the consumer gets.