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Fitness Nutrition and Clean Labels: What Is It All About?

Picture of Sports Nutrition Product

One of our goals at Nutrivend is to keep our customers informed of what is happening in our industry. To that end, this post is designed to provide a basic understanding of clean labelling. The concept of clean labels is just beginning to emerge in fitness nutrition, and it looks like it may be a trend that hangs around for a while.

To understand clean labels, it is helpful to understand the factors currently driving the fitness nutrition industry. From our perspective, we see three things as primary market drivers:

  • Healthier lifestyles;
  • A distrust of business; and
  • Current marketing trends.

In terms of healthier lifestyles, more Britons are taking proactive steps to lead healthier lives. They are getting regular exercise, they are being careful about what they eat, and they are paying particular attention to anything that might prove potentially harmful – be it over-the-counter medicines, cleaning products, etc.

A big influence on the healthier lifestyle mindset is an inherent distrust of business. People look at large corporations and assume their only motivation is money. That leads to a secondary thought that corporations do not care about the public health as long as they generate a profit. Whether or not such thinking is true remains a matter of debate.

Finally, current marketing trends are reflecting both the healthier lifestyle mindset and the inherent distrust of business. Marketing experts have adapted to consumer thinking and are now reshaping their messages to present a more wholesome, family orientated, and simple image. They are targeting people with messages of clean living.

The Basics of Clean Labels

All this brings us back to the topic of clean labels within our industry. In fitness nutrition, there is a perception that ingredient lists found on supplements and nutritional food products are not necessarily as transparent as they should be. Certain ingredients used as stimulants are a good example.

Researchers in both Europe and North America have uncovered multiple instances in which manufacturers listed one kind of stimulant, like caffeine for example, even though the actual stimulant used in the product was something completely different. That is neither good nor transparent.

The clean labelling concept is one of being completely transparent about every ingredient, no matter the consequence. If a product being passed off as fitness nutrition contains sugar, the label needs to say so. If the stimulant in an energy bar is not really caffeine, the label should not have caffeine listed on it.

Clean labelling is being driven primarily by athletes who are afraid of being caught for doping when all they are doing is consuming commercially available fitness nutrition foods and supplements. They do not want to be punished because a manufacturer does not practice transparency in labelling.

Now you know the premise behind clean labels in fitness nutrition. Let's see if manufacturers get on board with better, more transparent labels. Hopefully they do. Consumers deserve to know what they are putting into their mouths.