These days, we’re no longer satisfied with just great taste and flavours when it comes to eating and snacking. In fact, not only are people becoming increasingly mindful, if not obsessed, with what goes into their food and drink, there has also been a worldwide consumer-driven movement demanding real foods and transparency in labelling during recent years. We catch up with Edward L Wang, founder of Oomph!, a plant-based functional food company that makes natural, nutritious, and delicious energy bars, to find out everything you need to know about clean label and healthy eating.
What is Clean Label?
Clean label is a general term which refers to products that contain natural, familiar, and simple ingredients that are easy to recognise, understand, and pronounce for all consumers. This means that they contain no chemicals, E-numbers, or artificial additives. By executing this, consumers are able to evaluate the “cleanliness” of a product through assumption, or inference, when examining product labels and nutrition information.
In the U.S, the solution to E-number reduction has been answered by a shift towards a higher consumer demand for natural and original products. While in Asia, the concern for clean label products is driven more by suppliers that sell to Europe and the States, than by consumers who tend to view clean labels as “nice to have” but not absolutely necessary.
How to Eat Clean
An offshoot of clean label is clean eating, which refers to having a diet that avoids any highly processed foods. Eating whole foods that are unprocessed and unrefined (or at least, processed and refined as little as possible), is the essence of clean eating. That means a diet of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and plant-based proteins. Whole foods also offer more fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and good fats – all the things that are key to maintaining a clean eating lifestyle.
How to Snack Clean
With clean eating gaining popularity, clean snacking has naturally acquired a momentum of its own – especially as more people start to abandon the three-meals-a-day routine due to their busy and active lifestyles. Among the hottest trends in clean snacking are whole food bars, fruits and vegetable pouches, and plant-based chips. Whole food bars such as Oomph! are made with easily recognised ingredients like almonds, cashews, walnuts, dried fruits, chia seeds, and sea salt. Since these energy bars are also soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, all-natural, and non-GMO, you won’t have to worry about what’s in your food and where it comes from, making them the perfect snack for those who are always on the go.
As for fruit and vegetable pouches, these convenient grab-and-go snacks have moved well beyond the kids playground, and are suitable for adults too, with kale, broccoli, sweet potato, mango, and pumpkin being the most popular due to their dense nutritional value. Last but not least, if you’re looking for something to satisfy your junk food cravings, then plant-based chips are a great way to go about it. Made with everything from traditional potato and corn, to healthier options such as parsnips, peas, and beans, these chips are usually vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Coconut chips are also just as popular.
Final Food for Thought
Going “clean” is a conscious decision for many, requiring a lot of research, both online and offline. While the motivation behind looking for clean label products is to eat purposefully, it’s not to say that we all have to thoroughly study food packages with a magnifying glass. Instead, you should search for a few things of value that may be specifically important to you. That way, we, as consumers, can gain a sense of control in what we eat, feel better about the choices we make, and consequently live a happier, healthier, more vigorous life!