What is ‘clean eating’? Consumers say popular marketing trend is ‘confusing’ and ‘pretentious’

Image: Davidson County Focus Magazine
While phrases such as ‘eating clean’ are starting to appear more frequently in consumer marketing, Mintel research shows some consumers are confused by the term ‘clean’ when used on pack, says Stephanie Mattucci, Mintel’s associate director for food science, who caught up with FoodNavigator-USA at the IFT show in Chicago [in July 2018].

“For some consumers clean eating may mean eating less processed food, more natural food – whatever that means, avoiding artificial ingredients… or for some, it may mean a free from diet, cutting out dairy or soy, or something along the lines of a paleo or keto diet. 

“But the term ‘clean’ is still pretty confusing… We talked through a couple of product examples with consumers ​…. and one woman commented that she thought it looked like a cleaning product, for example, while others stated confusion overall about what clean may mean.”

Related article:  Climate change makes bugs hungrier, which could threaten our food supply

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA in 2017​, Hartman Group SVP Shelley Balanko, PhD, noted that while the term ‘clean label’ has been bandied around within the food industry for years, it’s still relatively new to consumers ….


“Our research shows that the downside of the term ‘clean’ …. is that some people think it’s a bit pretentious and neurotic …. that it’s like ‘natural,’ potentially a marketing gimmick ….

Read full, original article: IFT 2018: How are consumers thinking about ‘clean’ eating (and is it the same as healthy eating)?

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