The bottom line is that we’re witnessing a quickly changing food culture that has already led to a new type of consumer – namely a critical and self-determined eater. One who is mindful of the things that end up in his or her shopping bag.
Health eating is already part of everyday life for many consumers. There are many reasons for that. The number of people who suffer from allergies or food intolerances is growing steadily. More and more consumers are becoming vegetarians or vegans. Not least because of the regularly occurring scandals in the food industry that make people unsure. They all demand changes, transparency and unadulterated products. In other words, honesty.
On the other hand, the food producer of today also wants to know more about the raw materials in his “storeroom”. He expects more transparency on his ingredient lists, so he can satisfy the demands of his customers and fulfill labeling requirements.
A broad field that should be viewed from all possible perspectives, while at the same time remaining easily understandable.
And yet www.clean-label.com isn’t just a guiding thread for our readers. This site pools first-hand expert knowledge. It offers help, so you can help yourself, is a source of inspiration, and it is especially an opportunity for honest exchange.
More than recipes: what the site offers
Processing natural foods while being mindful of the aspects of rationality and quality works. But a lot of expertise is required. Especially when one has to produce large quantities. The countless cooking and baking blogs on the internet don’t provide much help, despite the wealth of knowledge they present. They are simply missing practicability in terms of producing large quantities under rational aspects, which is a common need in many businesses.
We want to close this gap. This is a place for thinking and especially thinking for yourself. In every imaginable way.
We don’t want to provide finished recipes or issue unalterable instructions. We want to be supporters and advisers for conventional and ecologically-oriented businesses alike.
Exchange is necessary for really good results. Opinions, suggestions and well-meaning criticism are equally important. That’s why we value our forum so much. In our community we find solutions together with colleagues. This applies to label-friendly work as well (among many other things), as things have become way easier than they used to be ten years ago. Nevertheless there are some situations where it’s helpful to be able to ask for advice.
The participation in the forum isn’t free (10 euros per month). The reason for that is that all the people working on this website should be paid fairly. We promise high quality content in return. We also guarantee that we can provide you with helpful answers to all your questions. We offer a free trial month (you’ll find the registration here), so you will not end up buying a pig in a poke.
What defines CleanLabel?
First, of course, a “clean label”. But the term has no clear definition. Similarly to the word “Bio”, which used to have a definition and people could market all kinds of things under this name.
CleanLabel surely won’t ever have a legal definition. Our priority lies with real transparency concerning the foods that the consumer wants to have on his or her plate. This is achievable in many ways.
Oftentimes the legislator also allows manufacturers to use tricks. Like when it comes to declaring additives. The current food law offers enough loopholes for ingredient lists with undisclosed ingredients. As such, the highly-praised transparency isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for that reason alone.
What does the consumer expect from CleanLabel?
A clear guide through the labyrinth of confusing ingredient lists and dubious raw materials right up to honest products. The consumer also expects to get a product from the manufacturer that doesn’t taste worse just because it’s an “honest” product. And we think that this expectation is reasonable.
We work without hiding anything. We value high quality products from grandmother’s cupboard, without having to make compromises when it comes to taste. We list the names of all the additives used. Names that mean something to the consumer.
We are convinced that this approach is deemed honest by the consumer. We also want to use these honest raw materials to manufacture food that offers the same high level or even a higher level than food that was made with additives.
Grandpa Henry’s Bread: simply cooking and baking like we used to do?
This is, in fact, very easy – you take recipes from old cookbooks or the company archive and use them to create the products. Everything is good in the end. Or maybe not?
There are three aspects that food manufacturers “like” to disregard:
1. The customer’s expectations are different from a couple of decades ago.
2. Raw materials have changed.
3. The expertise for perfect products has increased.
For that reason alone, grandfather Heini’s bread is not the same as it once was.
You need the ideal combination of old and new, tradition and science, to create the perfect product. Grandfather Heini’s insights about raw materials and processes provide the basis for the natural recipes of today. Agreed, it’s a challenge, but it’s doable. Even without genetically-modified enzymes or chemically-synthetic emulsifiers. They may make the bread dough easier to process and extend its shelf life, but the customer doesn’t want them.
We can make our work easier without those things as well, and delight the customer in a natural way. Luckily we now have many good raw materials at our disposal. And the corresponding processes as well. The raw material alone isn’t enough to create a good product, it also has to be processed properly.