Don’t have this, but DO include that — What Consumers Want to See on Product Labels

A recent talk delivered at Food Labeling: Strategic Regulatory Compliance, early in February, by Shelly McKee, Ph.D., Director of Technical Services for the American Egg Board delved into the terms that help define clean labels for consumers.  Along with listing many ingredients consumers want to avoid (and the ways that egg ingredients can help formulate foods that suit that audience), Dr. McKee discussed the ingredients and types of labels consumers are looking for.

Most manufacturers are aware that consumers look for ingredients that are:

  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easily recognizable
  • Have at home
  • Natural
  • Familiar
  • Simple
  • Real
  • Limited to five ingredients or less

Certain studies get a bit more specific, however, about consumer desires. Consumers want product labels that include:

  • Any nutrition (80 percent)
  • Show the food is a good/excellent source of (vitamins, etc.) 62 percent
  • Foods low in sugar/carbs, salt/sodium 50 percent
  • Contain a full serving fruit or vegetable 48 percent*

In the International Food Information Council (IFIC) “Food Insights” annual survey, 2014 edition, IFIC reported 65 percent of consumers do read the Nutrition Facts panel. While reading, they are looking for ingredients that will boost the levels of certain nutrients in their diet, including:

Ingredients consumers want to increase (or get a certain amount of):

  • Fiber – 53 percent
  • Whole grains – 53 percent
  • Protein – 50 percent
  • Calcium – 36 percent

The Hartman Group published research supporting IFIC findings and relating it to health and wellness as key drivers for consumers, stating:

  • 28 percent seek out foods and beverages that are minimally processed
  • 26 percent look for only ingredients they recognize
  • 25 percent for locally grown food
  • 25 percent looking for foods with the shortest ingredient lists

The big idea here is keep it simple, make it healthy and keep the label short. Use ingredients that can help achieve this objective, including not just the functional side but the nutritional side as well. And don’t forget the golden rule — it needs to taste good too.

This is why ingredients like REAL eggs make such a difference. REAL eggs help keep product labels simple,  and authentic. With all of the functional benefits provided by REAL eggs there is no single substitute that can recreate the functional properties eggs provide and create a gold standard food consumers will enjoy.  This blog and many resources on this website discuss the functional benefits of egg ingredients. For more on the nutritional side, log onto

*Mintel Nov. 2014 presentation

2015-03-20 01:34:07

Consumers Want Their Labels (and Foods) “Free-from”

A recent talk delivered at Food Labeling: Strategic Regulatory Compliance, early in February, by Shelly McKee, Ph.D., Director of Technical Services for the American Egg Board delved into the terms that help define clean labels for consumers. One issue she discussed was the “free-from” movement.

“Free-from” — what does that mean? This is an offshoot of the clean label movement and there are different ingredients that consumers might bundle into this desire.

While one aspect of the free-from movement is looking for products free-from allergenic ingredients, there is good news on that front as it relates to eggs.

The prevalence of food allergies in the U.S. is increasing and no one disputes the serious nature of a foodborne allergy. However, while an average of two percent of the population under age five is allergic to eggs, most children will outgrow their egg allergy by late childhood.

Recent studies find that heat-driven changes in the protein structure of eggs can make them safe for the majority of children with an egg allergy. One study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) annual meeting in 2012 served participants standard cake/bread recipes that used eggs as ingredients, in a preparation baked at 350° F for 30 minutes. It found that more than half of the children (56 percent) could tolerate the egg baked in the cake or bread product.

Children who can tolerate heated egg products appear to outgrow their allergy to native egg at an accelerated rate compared with patients with an egg allergy who maintain strict avoidance of egg.  The researchers said this evidence of outgrowing a food allergy could lead to these individuals being able to enjoy a much more diverse diet. Those who were diagnosed with an egg allergy before age ten were the most likely to go on to outgrow their allergy. 1, 2

In addition, a high number of consumers are looking for products free from additives. Mintel data tracking shows “no additives” is the top claim on all new products launched globally from 2009 to 2014.

Consumers are looking for the products to be “free-from”:

  • Gluten
  • GMO
  • Highly processed ingredients

This means good news for formulators who use REAL egg ingredients, because eggs fit the free-from scenario in most instances and fit the consumer desire for transparency, clarity, authenticity and familiar, as well as natural.

  • Eggs, in the shell, are not bioengineered engineered3 and can be considered GMO-free4
  • There is no transfer of any transgenic protein or rDNA from commercialized genetically engineered (GE) crops detected in milk, meat or eggs5
  • Scientific studies do not detect any GM DNA in eggs6


Eggs also are:

  • Sugar free
  • Generally free from antibiotics
  • Gluten free
  • Easy for consumers to recognize on product labels
  • Highly functional, supplying twenty-plus functional properties to help create proper texture, mouthfeel, taste and appearance

REAL egg ingredients can obviously help formulate for the “free-from” product segment, and with more than twenty functional properties, supply benefits to products from appetizers through dessert. Now that we know what consumers want to avoid, what qualities do consumers want in their foods? Watch for our next blog post as Dr. McKee looks at the ingredients consumers say they like.


1. An egg a day to keep allergies away. American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology website. Accessed March 3, 2013.

2. Outgrowing Food Allergies — Evidence Shows Multiple Factors Affect Outcome By Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RD, LD , Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 15 No. 5 P. 12

3. Check with your egg ingredient supplier about other ingredients that might be added to aid the functional properties of egg ingredients.

4. While eggs are considered free of bioengineering, FDA does not allow eggs to be labeled as GMO-free because there is not a non-GMO egg for comparison.

5. Espanier R., 2013. The fate of transgenic DNA and newly expressed proteins. In G. Flachowsky (ed.) Animal Nutrition with transgenic plants No. 1, p. 112-127. CABI Biotechnology Series, Oxfordshire, UK.

6. Sieradzki et al: Assessing the possibility of genetically modified DNA transfer from GM feed to broiler, laying hen, pig and calf tissues. (2013) Pol. J. of Vet. Sci. 16(3):435-441.

2015-03-05 17:36:30