An Introduction to Flavor Labeling: Part 2

September 29, 2015

Do you have a new product idea? Before you launch into product development and sensory analysis, step back for a moment. Consider how product labeling might be affected by—or may even drive—your new product. This month, we look into what you should be talking about right from the start when brainstorming about new products.

Last month, we talked about regulatory terminology and how it affects packaging. In this, the second article in our three-part food labeling series, we focus on the importance of asking the right people the right questions at the earliest stages of planning.

There are many factors that go into a new product launch. Of course, everyone’s main objective is to create a product that people will love and buy again and again. There are myriad ways to go about this. Typically, you’ll look at consumer trends, meet with marketing, and consider your own preferences and company capabilities.

One thing you may not think of upfront is how these decisions can affect product labeling.

These are some of the questions to pose as you work with marketing in the earliest stages of product development:

    • Are there claims you want to make on the front of the package? What you want to claim on the front panel requires informed decisions on ingredient selection. For example, let’s assume you are developing a snack that has a cheddar profile, and you want to make a “Natural” claim on the front panel.
      • By selecting natural cheese flavors that start with cheddar, the ingredient statement would read “natural flavor” and the front panel could state “made with natural flavors.”
      • Let’s say, instead, you choose to use a natural cheese flavor that starts with mozzarella. Your ingredient statement would still read “natural flavor.” However, the front panel would state “made with natural and artificial flavors.”
    • What claims would benefit your company’s image? Can you follow through? For example, are non-GMO, gluten-free, or other claims important to your brand? These are important decisions that influence ingredient selection and knowing this early in the development process saves time and money.


    • How important is it to keep the ingredient statement short, and how will you go about it? Consumers want to see fewer ingredients on their food labels, and working closely with suppliers to select ingredients that use the same carriers allows for ingredient consolidation, which results in a shorter label.


  • What don’t you want in a product? Some products are formulated solely with this in mind (i.e. sugar-free or PHO-free).

When natural ingredients are paramount (as they are so often today), we have plenty of options, and our clean-label flavors satisfy the consumer appeal.

In today’s competitive, complicated food industry, it’s vital to know not only how the ingredients in your product work in the application, but also how they affect the product labels consumers and regulatory groups will both closely examine.

Next time: Learn about trends and emerging issues impacting labels.