2019 Clean Label Conference

Originally Published: August 6, 2019
Last Updated: April 27, 2022
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Efforts to formulate packaged foods, beverages and nutritional products with consumer- and export-friendly ingredients continues to grow globally. Global Food Forums’ 2019 Clean Label Conference,  the 6th annual event, was held March 26-27 in the Chicago area. The in-person product development event focused on providing practical, how-to formulation and other actionable advice to R&D and applied product development specialist working in this arena.


2019 Clean Label Conference Program

The following are General Session speakers and Technology Snapshot presentations from the 2019 Clean Label Conference. Global Food Forums thanks them for interesting, actionable, thought-provoking and sometimes amusing presentations.


  • Understanding the Clean Label Movement & What it Means for the Industry

Speaker: Mindy Hermann, MBA, RDN, Innova Market Insights

Global movement toward clean products is sending shockwaves through the food industry as manufacturers accelerate ingredient and product development to meet consumer desire for clean. But what is a clean label? No longer declaring freedom from just additives and preservatives, clean now encompasses a broader definition that includes purity in ingredients and processes, as well as ethical and environmental considerations. This fast-paced presentation will take a macro look at global trends in clean, including consumer perceptions, label trends, packaging changes, and impact on food and beverage categories.

  • Do Cleaner Labels have Unintended Health Consequences?

Speaker: Joanne L. Slavin, Ph.D., RD, Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota

Consumers are said to be increasingly drawn to vegetarianism, veganism and products with simplified, understandable ingredient statements. Additionally, encouraging Americans to consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains is much needed advice for most. However, diets can be as varied as consumers themselves. As the food industry focuses on developing plant-based foods and beverages with short ingredient lists, are there consumer groups at risk for nutritional deficiencies? And, can the food processing industry be more transparent as to what is, and isn’t, in the products they market.

  • Challenges & Solutions: An Update on Label-friendly Surfactants & Emulsifiers

Speaker: Professor Peter J. Wilde, Ph.D., Research Leader, Quadram Institute

Emulsions and foams often provide structure and texture, impart taste and flavor or deliver bioactive compounds to foods. Amphiphilic molecules in the form of surfactants, emulsifiers and polymers are used to create and stabilize emulsions and foams. Numerous synthetic components are effective at stabilizing foams and emulsions. However, the trend toward label-friendly ingredients has driven interest in alternative approaches using proteins, naturally occurring emulsifiers and enzymes that can alter the natural lipid composition of foods to improve their functional properties. This presentation will review the range of emerging approaches to replace synthetic surfactants and emulsifiers in foods, their advantages and disadvantages and their potential for use in clean label foods.

  • Challenges & Solutions for “Preservative-free,” Microbial-safe Foods

Speaker: Kathleen Glass, PhD, Assoc. Director, Distinguished Scientist, Food Research Institute

The long-standing industry goal has been to manufacture safe processed meats, cheeses and refrigerated foods with shelf lives lasting the length of a refrigerated supply chain. However, even as standards such as good food manufacturing practices have become better understood and implemented over the years, consumer expectations have placed new demands on processors. The desire for less processed foods as well as consumer-friendly ingredient lists for a variety of products has challenged formulators and ingredient vendors alike. This presentation provides an update on potential solutions as well as touches on emerging technologies to answer to these issues.

  • Formation of Flavor—Is Natural the same as Clean Label?

Speaker: Deepthi (DK) Weerasinghe, PhD, Principal, dP3Consulting

“Natural” ingredient manufacturers utilize rules set forth by organizations like FEMA and IOFI. Studying how these flavor-impacting molecules are made in nature, producers use microbes or purified enzymes to facilitate these reactions. Methods now utilized to form “natural molecules” from plant products include fermentation, enzymology, and “soft chemistry” followed by subsequent purification or isolation such as by steam distillation, extraction, chromatography or crystallization. The drive for “Clean Labels” was born out of consumers desire to read labels and find materials they recognize from daily life. Clean label today is where Natural was decades ago. Consumers do not necessarily equate clean label to natural; they dislike a “Black Box-Natural Flavors” statement. A primary challenge is that the terms “Natural” and “Clean Label” are differently regulated and differently interpreted around the world, leading to non-uniformity on a worldwide basis. In this talk we will discuss the formation of flavors by the respective methodology that in turn will help respective attendees determine the best label for their products.

  • The Effect of Color on Odor Perception: Toward More Efficient Ingredient Use

Speaker: Debra Zellner, PhD, Professor, Psychology, Montclair State University & Monell Chemical Senses Center

The effect of color on odor/flavor identification, liking and perceived intensity when experienced both orthonasally (through the nostrils) and retronasally (through the mouth) will be reviewed. The impact that color has on odor/flavor perception when the color is intrinsic to the object being smelled/tasted (e.g., a colored beverage) compared to when the color is extrinsic, but related to the object (e.g., the package color), will also be discussed. Possible mechanisms by which these color-odor/flavor interactions occur will be proposed; and, a glimpse will be provided into where future research on color’s influence on flavor perception may be headed.

  • Behind the Label: Clean Label “Musts” for the Ingredient Supply-Chain

Speaker: Steve Taormina, Business Unit Manager, NSF International

Transparency is a basic concept of the clean label phenomena. Consumers want to know what is in their food and where it came from. This presentation touches on unexpected research findings on consumer attitudes toward organic, non-GMO, and other food traits. Using one certification process as groundwork for what is important in ingredient supply-chain documentation, it will do a deep-dive into five key requirements when products make non-GMO, gluten free, plant-based or other “clean label” claims. Using these core concepts in supply-chain management helps ensure that attendees will know what is in their products, which is good for their company and its customers.

  • Delivering Clean Label to the Transitioning Omnivore

Speaker: Rachel Cheatham, PhD, Founder & CEO, Foodscape Group, LLC

Consumers want clean label foods they can trust, along with an expressed desire to include more plant-based foods in their daily diets for health and sustainability reasons. This “flexitarian” approach of the Transitioning Omnivore creates a dynamic intersection of clean label, plant-based ingredients and nutrition. This talk will cover key Foodscape METATRENDS™ – that’s the trends of the trends – including plant-based interests along with a marketplace look at how clean label is playing out. Comparative product examples, with an emphasis on meat and dairy alternatives, will be used to explore and examine ingredient choices, nutritional differences and marketing approaches.

  • The Impact of Regulatory Requirements & Litigation Risk on Clean Label Product Development and Marketing

Speaker: Leslie T. Krasny, Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

The marketing of clean label products to meet growing consumer interest may result in liability due to regulatory issues, demand letters or class action litigation under state consumer protection laws, and competitor complaints. Examples of challenged claims include “no artificial flavors” for products with flavor enhancers, “wholesome/nutritious” for products with added sugars, and “natural” for products with trace levels of pesticides. This presentation provides advice on how to manage risk by reviewing ingredients, processes, and claims in a timely manner in order to evaluate concerns and adopt recommended changes.

  • Factors to Be Considered for Selecting the Best Fats & Oils to Meet Clean Label Requirements

Speaker: Neil Widlak, MSc, Consultant, Fats and Oil Technologies

When selecting fats and oils in order to obtain a clean label, key factors must be considered. They include understanding the important chemical and physical properties influencing functional performance; the ease in which “clean” alternative fats and oils can be sourced; and, their perceived impact on health. Because a “clean” label has no standard definition, satisfying a clean label requirement will be different for each food manufacturer. This presentation will provide guidance to formulators and marketers on how to choose the best functional and cost alternative fats and oils to meet a company’s individual clean label standards with the goal of being readily accepted by its customers.


Austrade’s Nutritis is a complete range of sweetening solutions from actual fruits – apples, dates and grapes. These natural fruit-based sweeteners are label friendly and allow for the elimination or reduction of various sugars (sucrose, glucose-fructose, dextrose, fructose, etc.).

California Natural Color’s unique Crystal Colors are made from natural sources without the use of carriers. The ease of handling, solubility, color strength and stability make our crystals the ideal alternative to traditional coloring methods.

Chr. Hansen has developed FruitMax® Red — high yield, minimally processed sweet potato providing a unique red color through natural selection and breeding. It offers superior process and shelf life stability in a multitude of food products.

Corbion’s Listeria Control Model (CLCM) has set the standard in Lm modeling for 20 years. CLCM is now enhanced to better predict efficacy of new clean label antimicrobials. Come hear how CLCM can help your company.

Corbion’s Verdad MP100 is a truly natural, fermented solution that functions as a clean label mold inhibitor. Perfect for commercial package breads and an excellent replacement for calcium propionate in products requiring 10-20 days of shelf life.

COSUCRA’s Nastar™ and Nastar™ Instant Functional Pea Starches are Natural Origin, non-GMO, Plant Based Ingredients made from Yellow Peas and provide the highest gel strength withstanding high heat treatment and high shear processing conditions vs. all other starch sources.

COSUCRA’s Swelite™ Functional Pea Fiber is a Natural Origin, non-GMO Project Verified, plant-based ingredient made from Yellow Peas for meat, poultry, fish & vegetarian products. Swelite™ has excellent water binding capacity (1-part Swelite™ binds 5-parts fat/5- parts water) to maintain juiciness and shape control.

Delavau’s instrumental characterization expertise has allowed the optimization of the ingredient system Accent 6500 Sodium Reduction Blend to reduce the sodium of yeast raised bakery products, while maintaining the dough properties of full salt formulations.

DSM’s AmpliVida™, a xylooliogosacharide (XOS) prebiotic. See Prenexus Health’s XOS Prebiotic (XOS95®) below.

Join Edlong to learn how the unique attributes of select Functional Natural Dairy Flavors provide mouthfeel benefits in lower sugar applications and how they can be used to add functionality to both dairy containing and dairy-free products, allowing for the development of authentic dairy taste.

Holton Food Products’ Summit Stabilizer provides high-strength stabilization with smooth texture in many applications ranging from sweet meringue systems to savory entrées. This hot-process stabilizer works as a thickening agent, binder, texturizer and minimizes moisture migration in all storage conditions.

Idaho Milk Products’ next generation of milk proteins, IdaPlus, for protein-enhanced RTDs retains all the benefits and functionality of protein while improving heat stability, extending shelflife and allowing for the addition of more protein, all with a cleaner label.

Ingredion’s NOVATION PRIMA® 309 and 609 certified organic functional native corn starches can help you meet consumer preferences for simplified, organic labels and create products with sensory and label appeal — even when processing conditions are harsh.

Ingredion’s HOMECRAFT™ Create 865 Multi-functional Rice Flour is a clean label phosphate alternative that allows for yield increase, texture improvement and purge reduction in tumbled marinated poultry while maintaining a clean, simple ingredient declaration, “rice flour.”

Jungbunzlauer’s Trimagnesium Citrate Anhydrous (TMC) is a clean label desiccant combining superior functionality with a positive consumer perception. Additionally it offers great two in one functionality when used also as source of magnesium.

Kemin Food Technologies’ CA-FORT™ is a concentrated clean label plant extract providing an alternative to traditional synthetic antioxidants in processed meat and poultry products, like pepperoni, where it can protect both the color and flavor from oxidative degradation.

Lycored will highlight proof of stability of their super stable color range across a number of challenging applications. Stable natural reds, oranges and yellows can be difficult to source in natural and highly stable form.

Nexira’s Organic Baobab Powder is a Superfruit high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Though the fruit is new to the North American market, it has a long rich history and tradition of consumption across Africa for its health benefits and nutritional value.

Prenexus Health’s XOS Prebiotic (XOS95®) will be a xylooliogosacharide prebiotic produced from USA-grown high fiber sugar cane and manufactured using a clean process. Based on prior scientific studies, XOS is effective at low doses (1.0g-3.0g/day) and is selective for beneficial bacteria growth while discouraging unwanted bacteria growth.

Siemer Specialty Ingredients’ Wheat Flour is naturally treated with heat, steam and water to replace modified starch and gum in applications of coatings, soup, sauce and gravy by creating superior viscosity, suspension, dispersion and adhesion qualities.

SOLVAY’s Rhovanil® US NAT is a highly pure, naturally-sourced ingredient that serves as a one-for-one replacement for synthetic vanillin. It meets U.S. natural flavor regulations and is ideal for manufacturers looking to formulate products with clean label status.

ZoomEssence, Inc. Through the elimination of heat, the ZoomEssence spray-dry process Zooming® retains the flavor nuances and aromas found in natural ingredients. This technology empowers the creation of unmatched taste experiences never before possible with powder flavors.