Clean Label Preservatives
50% of consumers avoid buying a product because of specific ingredients, and 25% avoid products that use the word "preservative" (1). Food manufacturers utilize a range of preservatives to ensure products maintain their key quality attributes such as color, flavor, texture, and most importantly food safety. Synthetic preservatives like nitrates/ nitrites or sodium benzoate were originally sourced from natural botanicals (plants) like celery seed and spices to guard against spoilage. Most retailers and consumers appreciate the convenience and even the flavor of some of these preservative ingredients, there are consumer-driven asks to adopt more "natural" options. The grocery retailer Whole Food's even publishes a list of ingredients not allowed in foods they carry on store shelves--most of the stated ingredients are synthetic preservatives.
Food spoilage and quality will always be a concern for consumers and retailers. Consumers are asking for a re-evaluation of traditional preservatives and newer processing techniques to meet their needs. Sometimes the research on clean label options still hasn't mastered the application side where off flavors (from the preservative) appears worse than the corrected problem.
Over the next few posts we'll explore the range of clean label and synthetic preservatives that help ensure a variety of foods and beverages maintain quality against spoilage and rancidity. If you have a specific preservative (clean label or otherwise) or food & beverage processing method you would like reviewed send me a note or leave a comment.
1. Survey was conducted online in the US by Harris Poll on behalf of Kemin Industries, Inc. between July 25 and August 1, 2016. The research was conducted among 1006 US adults aged 18+ who are the primary grocery shoppers for their household.