As clean label products from nationally recognized brands take up more and more space on supermarket shelves, private brands are having success in the clean label space too.
“Many major retailers have already invested and are making strides with their private brand portfolios to develop a clean label stance,” said Andrew Moberly, director of category solutions for Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon, a consultancy firm that focuses on private label brand insights. “As consumers are demanding cleaner ingredients in their products they purchase, retailers must comply by altering their portfolios to avoid processed and artificial ingredients. Clean label and free-from claims need to be a key focus for private brands as shoppers have made this an expectation in their purchase decisions.”
Moberly’s advice extends to products made in the instore bakery and deli. Products made instore are a key representation to consumers of a retailer’s private brand, and its important they these vital departments consider including clean label products.
For retailers that don’t already include clean label products within their prepared foods and fresh bakery products, Moberly suggested they start with items that have a high purchase frequency.
In the deli Moberly suggested that retailers start with a product like rotisserie chicken. In the bakery, clean label rolls and bread would be a good place to start. After introducing basic items, retailers can move on to expanding their private-label portfolio to include clean labeled higher end items.
“The future of clean label is that it will be the standard of what consumers expect,” he said. “National brand equivalents continue to become cleaner with many retailers actively communicating what ingredients you will not find in their products. Lifestyle and premium tiers are continuing to become more elevated with tighter guardrails. Retailers must have a strong clean label presence within their private brand portfolio in order to reach the demands of today’s consumers and maintain relevance.”
Expanding the clean label product portfolio with national brands
As retailers grow their private brand portfolio, having a strong selection of nationally recognized brands that already have a strong reputation among consumers can be helpful in making your store a go-to stop for shoppers on the lookout for clean-label products.
Here are a few brands to keep an eye on:
Bridor entered the clean label space in 2017, starting with 150 banned ingredients from the bakery company’s products. Now, Bridor bans over 330 ingredient from its bread and pastry products. Today, 90% of the company’s portfolio follows Bridor’s clean label standards, and Bridor has committed to a 100% clean label portfolio by 2024.
Most recently, Bridor introduced Oat Porridge Sourdough breads.
“Our objectives were not only to focus on the general sourdough trends but also to create a totally distinctive recipe while capitalizing on our unique abilities in offering artisan-style breads in a successful industrial production,” said Kim Després Thibodeau, marketing manager for Bridor.
In the last year, Bridor also developed a line of Vegan Pastries that adheres to the company’s clean label standards. The line aims to offer healthy and well-tasting products of high quality, and it fulfills a need the company saw in the vegan and plant-based segment.
“Despite common prejudices in the market that vegan products lack taste, we wanted to create a vegan product line without any compromise on taste while maintaining our high clean label standards,” said Després Thibodeau. “The product line currently consists of three croissants (straight, mini, curved) and two chocolatines (regular-sized and mini).”
Clemens Food Group
When Clemens Food Group did clean label concept tests in 2017, the company saw that putting the all-natural attribution on their Hatfield brand label yielded a 96% purchase likelihood.
The pork producer started with clean label marinated pork tenderloins, and most recently launched a clean label line of Hatfield Recipe Essentials Blended, which is ground pork blended with mushrooms.
“Clean label is a pillar for us as far as how we innovate and how we go to market and how we speak to retailers,” said Michele Williams, senior retail marketing manager for Clemens. “We want to show that we have very minimal ingredients, it’s all natural, minimally processed and you can pronounce all of the ingredients in our products.”
Both Hatfield branded products have five or fewer ingredients that consumers will recognize. The marinated pork tenderloin is the number one selling pork tenderloin in the Northeast, according to Williams. The tenderloin comes fully seasoned and ready to cook.
Hatfield’s Recipe Essentials ground pork is offered in six different flavors
“I cook it every Tuesday and my family doesn’t know that it’s pork blended with mushroom. They have no idea and I don’t tell them,” Williams said. “It really gives the retailer confidence in knowing they can trust Hatfield for clean label products.”
Kerry offers ingredient solution to help brands keep their products clean label. Kerry helps companies create clean label foods through helping its partners:
- Replace ingredients such as natural flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners with clean label alternatives while retaining key functionality, taste and nutrition profiles
- Eliminate specific ingredients, such as those on a “No-No” list, without sacrificing product integrity
- Leverage clean label technologies to reduce ingredients including sugar and salt and simplify product ingredient statements, such as through the use of natural multifunctional ingredients
- Identify creative ways to reposition products in the marketplace including innovations in format, packaging and culinary processing and the use of small-batch production
- Scale natural brand business while maintaining an identity such as certified organic or non-GMO
“It isn’t just about the ingredients and technologies that help with clean label but the expertise that Kerry brings with its family of formulators and application experts who can craft consumer-appealing solutions using fermented ingredients, natural preservation and proactive health ingredients,” said Soumya Nair, marketing insights director for Kerry.
Vandemoortele’s Banquet D’Or brand provides instore bakeries with high-quality freezer-to-oven croissants and pastries that can be ready to deliver to customers in 25 minutes.
All of the brand’s products are free from artificial colors, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and fats, high fructose corn syrup and chemically modified starch.
“Retailers can let their customers know they’re not just buying a high-quality French croissant, but they are made with clean ingredients and lend to our corporate strategy for sustainability,” said Raoul Dexters, general manager of Vandemoortele USA Inc. “We are definitely working further on it and investigating how can we make more products fitting this our definition of key label, while still keeping sure that the taste is as good as it should be.”
All Banquet D’Or products also come in recyclable packaging that is half the size of a standard pre-proofed croissant, meaning they can put twice as much product in one container.
“It’s more of an all-inclusive type of strategy that fundamentally has adapted, and clean label is part of that bigger web,” Dexters said. “In the US, I think this is only going to get better and more widespread as more people get better informed and realize what the benefits are of working with a sustainable company.”
This was included in the September issue of Supermarket Perimeter.