This post is sponsored by Sweet Street.
Before putting something in their shopping cart or on their plate, today’s consumers often put it under the microscope -- examining labels and ingredient lists to make sure they can feel good about their purchase. In a recent survey of more than 1,000 consumers, 98% of respondents said they believe it’s important for them to consider the ingredients in the food products they buy, according to a Label Insight study. Rising demand for “clean ingredients” is prompting food manufacturers and restaurants to examine their supply chains and reformulate products to increase transparency and remove artificial and other undesirable ingredients.
How consumers define “clean label” can vary from person to person, but the term can cover anything from sustainable manufacturing practices to the absence of artificial flavors and colors, according to a recent report from GlobalData. For many consumers, trust and transparency are key factors in deciding what makes an ingredient clean. As many as 73% of consumers would pay more for a food or drink product made with ingredients they recognize and trust, according to a survey of 1,300 consumers in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region conducted last year by Ingredient Communications.
Sourcing natural, sustainable and other “clean” ingredients is becoming easier as more restaurants and manufacturers demand these ingredients from their suppliers. Bakery company Sweet Street embarked on a mission to clean up its ingredients “over 10 years ago, when we started noticing hidden preservatives and artificial additives in many of our ingredients. The balance had shifted in our food supply, and the focus was on supply chain convenience -- with ingredient quality and integrity getting squeezed out,” Sweet Street founder and CEO Sandy Solmon wrote in a blog post.
With a catalog of products that includes more than 300 desserts, the company’s mission to weed out undesirable ingredients was a massive undertaking, but “we have stayed the course, using our stature as innovators to educate, convince and sometimes cajole some of the largest ingredient suppliers in the country to change their ways,” Solmon writes. “Among our many milestones, we have eliminated GMO’s from many of our key ingredients, we use only hormone-free dairy and we have removed all artificial flavorings and colorings while developing our own, natural alternatives. Our unwavering commitment has enabled us to make these strides throughout our entire bakery and across all of our product lines.”
Sweet Street took its clean ingredient commitment to the next level when it unveiled its Manifesto line last year. In addition to being free of GMOs and artificial additives and containing only hormone-free dairy products, all of the cookies and bars in the Manifesto line are made with cage-free eggs and sustainably sourced chocolate. All of Sweet Street’s suppliers have ongoing sustainability programs with farmers, and last year Solmon traveled to family-owned coffee and chocolate plantations in Peru to get a firsthand look at sustainable chocolate production.
“As our commitment to being relentless advocates for our customers strengthens, we continue to work on cleaner ingredient sourcing throughout our bakery,” she writes. “We are proud to be an agent of change in making our food supply wholesome and transparent.”
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