Have you jumped on the clean eating trend? The last time you were at the grocery store, did you compare the nutrition labels of different products before deciding what to buy? If you’re drawn to food items with short and simple lists of ingredients, you’re far from alone—according to the 2014 Hartman Group Organic & Natural Report, 70% of shoppers in the U.S. are looking for simpler, cleaner food labels with fewer ingredients.1
Brands are seeking to meet the demand of clean eating with paired down offerings like Nestlé Health Science BOOST® Simply Complete™ drink, which contains only nine ingredients plus 25 vitamins and minerals, to provide a nutritionally complete snack or mini-meal. “From everything we’re seeing around the clean label trend, consumers are just looking for products with as few ingredients as possible, especially nutritional products,” says Tracey Luckner, the marketing lead for the project.
“There’s a sub segment of consumers that’s very tuned into what the individual ingredients are, and they’re looking at the labels, and they want to recognize those ingredients and feel that, as they evaluate them, that they’re nutritious,” Luckner explains.
Creating a product with fewer ingredients can, somewhat ironically, be more difficult for brands than making an item with a long list of items. The BOOST® Simply Complete™ Team faced four challenges in making a simpler product:
BOOST® Simply Complete™ development challenges
Challenge #1: Organic vs. Non-GMO
Although plenty of non-GMO products are also organic, the Nestlé Health Science team opted not to go the organic route for BOOST® Simply Complete™ drink in order to keep costs down for customers. “The idea of a simpler BOOST® formula with no artificial ingredients, non-GMO, with as few ingredients as possible, was really appealing to clean eating consumers,” says Luckner. “In fact, when we asked consumers if they’d rather have an organic version or a simple, non-GMO version of BOOST®, the simple ingredients version at the lower price was more appealing.”
Challenge #2: “Simple” Isn’t Just About The Ingredients
Figuring out exactly what a “simple” food means to consumers and delivering it was another challenge for Nestlé Health Science. First and foremost, simple is about using fewer ingredients, so BOOST® Simply Complete™ drink contains only nine, plus added vitamins and minerals. But being able to recognize the ingredients was also important to consumers with clean eating in mind. “We found that if an ingredient was something a customer could picture in their mind or something that they had in their pantry, they would consider that a simple, nutritious ingredient,” says Luckner.
In addition to wanting fewer ingredients, clean eating consumers also felt that “simple” should translate to the packaging. “They wanted the packaging to look simple. They didn’t want the package to be cluttered with too much information,” says Stephanie Williams, a scientist working in the Nestlé Health Science Sensory department. The Sensory department is responsible for ensuring that products look, feel and taste great.
Continue with The Challenge of Simplicity Part Two
- Hartman Group Organic & Natural Report, 2014.