Clean Labels for the New Year
Many New Year’s resolutions lead consumers to resolve to eat healthier, leaner and cleaner. With a variety of new clean-label products on the market, manufacturers are supplying their customers with more options than ever.
“I believe consumers are looking for simple products that are minimally processed and claims that are meaningful and legitimate,” says Nicole Bernard Dawes, co-founder and CEO of Late July Organic Snacks. “Getting the public to understand and appreciate the difference between a certified organic product versus [a] conventional or all-natural [product is important].”
All of the Barnstable, Mass.-based company’s products are certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Late July’s new Cure for the Summertime Blues Organic Blue Corn Multigrain tortilla chips join the other creatively-named multigrain tortilla chips in the line, including Sea Salt by the Sea Shore, Mild Green Mojo, which boasts cheese, green chilies, and a hint of lime and Dude Ranch, a ranch-flavored chip with a gang of sour cream and a variety of herbs and spices. How Sweet Potato It Is will be joining the rest of the multigrain chips in 2012.
“These new chips have fun and interesting flavors the whole family will enjoy and healthy whole grains and seeds moms will want to give their kids,” states Bernard Dawes.
Late July Organic Snacks enforces a clean-label billing on all of its packaging.
“We have enhanced our new chip packaging to make the following statements more prominent when on the shelf: USDA-organic; certified gluten-free; 100% whole grains; multigrain snack chips,” states Bernard Dawes. “As we continue to develop new products and packaging, we make sure these messages are clear and visible for consumers.”
Bernard Dawes also says that Late July Organic Snacks is creating innovative, organic and healthful snacks that offer the health and wellness shopper everything they want in one snack.
Tortilla chips are prominent in the clean-label market. The Real Deal All Natural Snacks, Easton, Pa., creates a variety of organic tortilla chips for the clean-label consumer to enjoy. Earlier in 2011, the company launched its Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips and Organic White Corn Tortilla Chips, which are made with non-GMO corn and boast 21 g. of whole grains per serving. The kosher and gluten-free chips were launched alongside the company’s Organic Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips, which come in Original and Baked options.
“The Corriere family has 60 years of experience making every kind of corn-based snack,” says Deborah Crowe, vice president. “We’ve helped innovate some of the most unique and successful products in the natural foods market today.”
One of The Real Deal Organic Snacks’ innovations includes utilizing unusual ingredients in its snacks. Its Real! Veggie Chips are made from corn, rice and peas.
“Our Real! Veggie Chips are for moms who want to feed their kids healthy but good-tasting, kid-friendly snacks,” says Crowe. She adds that these snacks also are great for the weight-conscious consumer and offer more than one serving of vegetables in every ounce.
The Real! Veggie Chips come in Original and Sriracha options, and boast 80% less fat than potato chips. Consumers can enjoy this snack on the go, launched in 100-calorie six-packs in 2012.
Not only does the company offer a selection of tortilla and veggie chips, it also specializes in clean-label snack mixes. The Chili Lime and Original varieties both contain nacho tortilla chips, pretzels, corn chips, BBQ corn chips and crunchy cheese curls, a consumer favorite.
“Customers coast-to-coast have said that our cheese curls are the best they’ve tasted,” states Crowe.
The company plans to launch the cheese curls as a standalone product in 2012. “Customers should feel great about buying any bag of The Real Deal because we have perfected the art of the tortilla chip, corn chip and cheese curl and plan to continue to innovate with the best, most healthy ingredients without ever compromising great taste and texture,” says Crowe.
Another company manufacturing clean-label snack mixes is Healthient, Inc., Jupiter, Fla. It recently launched the LOLICRUNCH line under its SnackHealthy brand. The LOLICRUNCH line is entirely cholesterol-, dairy-, wheat-, and gluten-free. Both the Almond Crunch and Cashew Crunch varieties contain either almonds or cashews, peanuts and are sweetened with evaporated cane juice and brown rice syrup. They also come topped with a hint of sea salt. For consumers who aren’t nuts for just nuts, the Cranberry Nut Crunch option contains dried cranberries alongside almonds, peanuts and cashews. Consumers can imagine they’re snacking on a far away island with the Tropical Fruits and Nut Crunch variety, which offers dried mangoes, papayas and pineapples with almonds, peanuts and cashews. It also offers a little cayenne pepper kick in the seasoning blend.
Clean label doesn’t apply only to snack products. Home Free, LLC of Windham, N.H., manufactures clean-label cookies for the sweet-toothed consumer.
“Our name refers to the homemade feel of our products and to the cookies being free of most allergens, as well as of trans fat, cholesterol and anything artificial,” says Jill Robbins, president. “It also means that with our products, you are ‘home free’—you can relax because we took care of making sure the product is wholesome and allergen safe.”
Home Free, LLC’s cookies come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors.
“Some people like soft cookies, some like crunchy, some like big and some like mini,” states Robbins. “We offer all those options so everyone can enjoy their favorite kind of cookie.”
Robbins adds that Chocolate Chip is one of the more popular selections the company provides. The favored cookie joins the Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, and Vanilla varieties, which are all nut-free and made with whole grains.
Home Free, LLC also offers gluten-free and organic versions of all its cookies for a consumer with a more specialized clean-label need.
“People with food allergies are already telling us that their bodies are sensitive and susceptible, so it seemed especially important with this population to keep the food clean,” says Robbins.
Another company making sweet snacks clean is Crispy Green of Fairfield, N.J. The company specializes in manufacturing freeze-dried fruits, making it easier for consumers to enjoy a sweet, healthy snack on the go. There are no worries about refrigeration, peels, cores, seeds or rinds with Crispy Green’s FruitziO products. The FruitziO line includes Strawberries, Peaches, Apricots, Apples and Strawberries and Kiwi options, the latter of which is the most recent offering to launch. All the FruitziO products have 100 calories per bag and contain no fat or cholesterol.
The company’s flagship Crispy Green line offers a variety of fruit at 55 calories per serving including Apples, Mangoes, Asian Pears, Bananas, Canteloupes and Pinapples. The line comes in a single-serving six-pack, making it easy to eat on the go. Consumers can keep the packages in their cars, lunch boxes, desk drawers or briefcases for easy, clean-label snacking.
Kashi Co. of La Jolla, Calif., has long been an advocate for clean-label food products. Recently, it launched a new variety of its TLC Layered Granola Bar line. The Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Bar offers a fruit and dark chocolate spread over a chewy peanut, peanut butter and granola bar base. Topped with chopped peanuts and chocolate chunks, the bar has 4 g. of protein and 7 g. of fiber. It joins the Pumpkin Pecan and Dark Chocolate Coconut to round out the company’s sweet and savory line.
Clean-label food options are versatile, offering consumers plenty of snack and bakery options to satisfy anyone looking for a simple, healthful way to improve their diets.