Opportunities and new challenges for sport nutrition
The “clean label” movement appears to have grown stronger in the past few years, asking for products with less and simpler ingredients, perceived as healthier by the consumer, and the industry is gearing up to follow this new trend. For the sport nutrition sector, this means opportunities to create new, innovative products but also to face new, difficult challenges, both from the technological and the regulatory side. The most difficult problem to solve will be finding alternatives to the common used food additives. Not only is there an obvious technological problem in developing food supplements and sport nutrition products with less or no additives, but also the European regulation constitutes a significant obstacle in the process of obtaining a clean label product. The analysis of the relevant regulatory framework and the potential issues to the development of clean label products for sport nutrition will be the main object of this paper.
The term “Clean label” refers to a consumer-driven movement that has become prominent in the last few years. It is essentially based on the request of products with both few and simple ingredients, easier to recognize and understand by the consumer. Words like “authenticity”, “transparency” and “genuineness” are recurring when the subject is addressed.
Moreover, clear and simple information regarding all the key aspects of the product (ingredients sources, health benefits etc.) is considered complementary to labels that call themselves clean. Even the kind of information given to the consumer contributes to the perception of a product as “clean”: claims like “GMO-free” or “no preservatives” are definitely well received by the sensitive consumer, and last but not least information about the environmental sustainability of the product is becoming relevant.
It is peculiar that the entire concept of clean label is defined by the consumer’s perception. There is no legal definition nor a universally accepted guideline on what is or is not “clean”.
Nevertheless, the movement has acqui ...