S40 “If I can’t pronounce it, I’m not eating it!” How Consumer Perceptions are Changing the Face of the Food Industry

Tuesday, August 2, 2016: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
220-221 (America's Center - St. Louis)
Sponsored By:
Primary Contact: Angela Valadez
Organizers: Stephanie Barnes , Angela Valadez and Lily Yang
Convenors: Angela Valadez , Wendy White and Stephanie Pollard
Products intended for retail and food service are formulated with input from a company’s product development, regulatory, procurement and quality assurance teams. Once these developed products reach consumers, the list of ingredients often have names that are difficult to pronounce and unknown. When this occurs, some consumers pour over the fine-print; heeding only that the list is sometimes populated by non-essential, “scary” ingredients. Some wrongfully conclude that these complicated-sounding, sometimes un-pronounceable, named components must be artificial or unnatural and are therefore toxic to the body. This misconstrued information is compounded by (often uninformed) food bloggers and television doctors, as well as the news media who look for a shock-value.

Today’s consumers have expanded their definition of quality to also include products that make them feel good about what they are buying. As such, Mintel research has shown increasing trends towards minimally processed, natural, non-GMO, preservative-free, and/or organic products. Consumers are also demanding a higher degree of transparency from the food supply chain to truly understand what is in their food and where it comes from. With advancements in social media and global communications, consumers are exerting increasing pressure on the food industry to provide them with a new definition of “clean label." 

As a result, food scientists are working hard to meet the demands of consumers while still providing a cost-effective, minimally processed, safe product that still tastes great. These efforts have also migrated to the marketing departments to ensure that these new initiatives are transparent. 

This session will directly address:

  1. Understanding more about current perception trends and what is driving these trends.
  2. Take a deep dive into the clean label initiative.
  3. Take a look at one company’s transparency campaign. Understand public response and what they’ve changed as a result.


4:30 PM
Transparency in the New Age
Justin Ransom, McDonald's
See more of: Symposia