2013 Clean Label Conference

Originally Published: August 12, 2013
Last Updated: May 7, 2021

Sophisticated Solutions for Simplified Products



Global Food Forums, Inc.’s 1st annual Clean Label Conference took place October 28-29, 2013. The event provided insights and answers to the challenges of successfully developing products with simple, consumer-friendly labels with a natural-positioning in the marketplace.

The program included 10 general session speakers and 18 Technology Snapshots (TSS). The TSS are short, concise presentations on the properties and characteristics of new commercially available ingredients provide actionable information to immediately assist product design efforts. They are selected by the Global Food Forums Technology Snapshot Advisory Panel.


  • Consumer & Market Trends: Opportunities for Simple, Clean & Pure Abound

Speaker: Steve French, MBA, Managing Partner, Natural Marketing Institution

In today’s over-complicated society, one of the hottest trends in consumer packaged goods is simplicity. And the notion of simplicity can impact many areas of an organization, including product development, marketing, manufacturing, and packaging among others. This session will delve into the complexities of consumer expectations and how they have changed over time, exploring such topics as natural, clean label, organic, GMOs-and much more. Based on NMI’s (Natural Marketing Institute) extensive consumer research databases, the presentation will provide specific insights into opportunities for “simplified” foods and beverages. Come explore tomorrow’s trends today.

  • Strategies and Insights into Clean Label Development

Speaker: Leslie Skarra, MSc, CEO, Merlin Development, Inc.

More is required in the formulation of clean label products than the replacement of technical-sounding ingredients with natural-sounding ones. In order to best optimize such consumer-friendly foods & beverages, an understanding of product processing and packaging is required. This presentation will provide a comprehensive approach to developing cost-effective, clean label products with long-term stability and replicable quality. Formulation tips, tricks and tactics will also be suggested.

  • Packaging Does Much More than “Contain” – It Defines Your 1st Sale

Speaker: Kenneth S. Marsh, PhD, CPP, CFS, Packaging Consultant and Executive Director, Woodstock Institute for Service in Science to Humanity

In the development of a new food product, packaging is often thought of last, and often as a cost item that must be minimized. Many good products, especially those positioned as natural, have failed because of less than optimal packaging. Packaging choices impact ingredient options, shelf life, distribution requirements, marketing impact and more. Packaging, for example, can reduce need for antioxidants. This presentation provides an overview of the role that packaging can play in the successful launch of safe, cost-effective food products and present insights gained from real-world examples on how packaging offers opportunities far beyond its cost.

  • Natural Antioxidants: Maximizing Effectiveness for Shelf-life Extension

Speaker: Fereidoon Shahidi, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland

The use of antioxidants for stabilization of foods and beverages has been in practice for shelf-life extension and quality preservation purposes. The drive toward products with consumer-friendly ingredients has created great interest in natural antioxidants, mainly from plant sources as well as certain processing by-products. In addition to structural characteristics of the ingredients themselves, the system in which the antioxidants are used and storage conditions of products are important factors that must be considered in different applications. How can one maximize antioxidant function, and what are the promising areas of researcher for such ingredients? These and other relevant questions will be considered from both the theoretical and practical angles and their implications discussed.

  • Flavorings: Clean and Friendly

Speaker: Gary Reineccius, PhD, Professor and Department Head, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota

The sensory experience of eating is the key to market success. While great health claims may sell the product once, few will continue to purchase the product if it does not satisfy sensory expectations. This presentation first will explore the options in natural flavorings, for example, is flavoring natural, all natural, or from the named source, and what does each designation mean. Flavoring composition will be linked to the current labeling laws. Emphasis will be on how food formulators can work within these laws to get clean, customer-friendly labels. Time will also be devoted to the costs associated with clean labels: nothing is free.

  • Emerging and Applied Clean Label Starch Technologies

Speaker: Sakharam K. Patil, President, S.K. Patil & Associates

Starch has long played a critical role in food acceptability. Historically, modified starches were developed to help manufacturers answer consumer demands for economical, yet superior textured products. As attention turns to “pantry-friendly” labels, momentous growth is expected in the use of simply-labeled, yet sophisticated, starches. Dr. Sakharam Patil’s presentation discusses the current and emerging technologies behind physically and enzymatically altered starches offering clean label opportunities. Practical advice on applications and evaluation techniques will be provided.

  • Opportunities and Limitations of Natural Antimicrobials

Speaker: Kathleen Glass, Ph.D., Associate Director, Food Research Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The long term trend toward less-processed and more natural-appearing foods presents a fundamental challenge: food safety concerns often increase. This presentation looks at current research and practical applications of clean-label antimicrobial ingredients with a focus on cultured dairy products and RTE meats. An update on components from bacterium and fermented dairy-derived ingredients, along with a brief overview of plant-derived components, will be discussed.

  • When Natural Isn’t Good for You: Managing Food Safety, Litigation & Regulatory Risk

Speaker: Anthony “Tony” Pavel, JD, Partner, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP

The challenge are daunting. Food companies offer consumers economical, convenient, great tasting, safe and nutritious foods with availability never before known to man. However, careful consideration must be made when communicating the natural positioning of such products. The characteristics of the ingredients, processing and even packaging used, regulatory guidelines and regulatory environment, as well as, the increasingly litigiousness of “consumer” groups must all be accessed in the development and marketing of good-for-you foods and beverages. This session will explore the legal and regulatory implications stemming from the interrelated issues of food safety, ingredient labeling and claims as the industry works to meet consumer demands for less processing and fewer ingredients, while expecting longer shelf life and enhanced nutrition.

  • From Wal-Mart to Whole Foods: What are Shoppers Looking For?

Speaker: Linda Gilbert, Founder/CEO, EcoFocus Worldwide, LLC

Everyone would agree that product attributes are fundamental to food and beverage purchases. What is less known is how the labels of the products that groceries stock on their shelves not only influence what shoppers buy, but also have a bearing on a grocer’s own credentials with shoppers. Using multi-year trend data, this presentation looks at what is important to consumers as segmented by the grocery chains they patronize—from the natural and mainstream retailers to the big box chains. Discover the importance that shoppers at different stores place on various label attributes and natural choices. Find out how products on the shelves impact shoppers’ perceptions of the grocery retailers and their shopping behavior. Learn how food processors can help meet the challenge and the opportunity that clean labels offer retailers. Shopper segments studied include those frequenting big box stores (Wal-Mart, Costco and Target), regional chains (Publix, Safeway and Kroger) and natural grocers (Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s).

  • Bringing Culinology to Clean Label Development – How and Why it Matters

Speaker: Mark Crowell, Principal Culinologist, CuliNex, LLC

Product development is a complex, expensive process fraught with risk and uncertainty. Developing organic and natural products is a “whole ‘nother cat”. How do you maximize your chances of success on even the most difficult projects? Through the practice of Culinology. Learn from case studies and real world insights how a Culinology project approach is much more than the sum of its Culinary Art and Food Science parts.

  • Going Au Naturel: Coloring Considerations

Speaker: Ronald Wrolstad, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Food Science Emeritus, Oregon State University

While neither the US nor European Union has defined natural colorings or natural foods, when it comes to food colorants, consumers increasingly have certain expectations when reading a product’s ingredient legend. Naturally derived colorings provide consumer appeal and perhaps even health benefits. However, working with these ingredients often proves challenging due to differences in stability, functionality, sourcing, range of hues and cost when compared to their synthetic alternatives. From anthocyanins and betalains to caramel and chlorophyllin, this presentation will discuss the limitations and realties of replacing artificial food dyes with “natural” colorants approved for use in food and beverages.

  • Taste Physiology and Considerations in Sweetener Choices

Speaker: Alex Woo, Ph.D., Managing Director and Founder, W2O Food Innovation

The desire for sweetness is inborn in humans. The subject of label-friendly sweetness enhancement in food and beverage formulations is complex. An update will be given on the emerging understanding of taste perception and how it can assist in the design of clean-flavored, simple products. Insights will be provided into the use of sweetener and taste enhancer ingredients from monk fruit to stevia, from thaumatin to “sugar aroma,” to “sugar mouthfeel agents.

  • A Food Scientist’s Approach to Working with Organics

Speaker: Sharon Herzog, MS, Director of R&D, Country Choice Organic

A multitude of challenges present themselves in the development of traditional processed, packaged foods and beverages. When the goal is to formulate a product with organic components, the “tool chest” of functional ingredients narrows rapidly as one moves to organic-compatible, certified organic and even non-GMO certified ingredients. How do these ingredient categories different and what are some formulation strategies to create successful consumer-friendly products?

Technology Snapshot Presentations

Glanbia Nutritionals: Benefits of OptiSol® 3000 in Artisan Italian Bread

Grain Millers: Save Dough Using SafeExtend

BioSpringer: The World of Yeast Products

Corbion-Caravan:  Pristine® 500 Dough Strengthener & Conditioner

Dow AgroSciences: Healthier and Functional Oils for Clean Labels

Ingredion: Introducing Novation Endura Functional Native Starch

Ingredion: Quillaja Extract Emulsifier: Q-Naturale®

Innova Flavors: Clean Label Meat and Savory Flavors

Kalsec: Expeller Pressed Spice & Herb Extracts

Nexira: Clean Label & Acacia Gum

Tree Top: Sulfite-Free: Light Colored Dried Apples

Vegetable Juices: Purple Sweet Potato Juice Concentrate

Z-Trim Ingredients: Clean Up Your Label with Z-Trim Corn Fiber Process Resistant Corn Fiber