Five Star Custom Foods Blog
(Now Part of Cargill)

Bringing you the latest news and resources about the custom food industry

When It Comes To Food Products, Does Healthy = Clean?

Posted by Jeff Bledsoe on Jun 29, 2017 8:36:00 AM

Take a moment and think back 10-20 years ago. What were most restaurant chains marketing those days? Bigger portions. Better value. More options. Today, things have changed; consumers aren’t necessarily looking for filling foods or largest portions as much as they once were — and restaurants aren’t offering them as much, either. Now, it’s all about the customer’s perception of healthy food a restaurant offers on its menu.

The only problem is, what defines “healthy food?” If it’s food with locally sourced ingredients, it can be challenging for a restaurant chain with national distribution. If it’s food made with organic ingredients, it can be cost prohibitive. What if the “healthy food” people want is really just food with known ingredients on the label?

The Definition of ‘Clean Food’

For today’s consumer, “clean” means simple ingredients. It means not putting anything in your food product’s formula that a consumer wouldn’t recognize as a pantry ingredient. More and more people want to avoid products with chemical-sounding ingredients in the foods they eat. It’s not just restaurants, either; it’s the trend of folks that are shopping in grocery stores every single day. People want ingredients they can recognize.

Ways to Make a Cleaner Food Product

The increased demand for clean label products means there are many ingredients restaurant chains and food producers choose not to use anymore that protect flavor and extend shelf life. Why? Some of their customers don’t want to see them on the ingredients list. Unfortunately, this can both increase cost and reduce shelf life for food products.

So what can you do? Start with freshest ingredients you can. Use more natural substitutes for flavor preservation. Connect with a healthy supply chain that is careful about the ingredients it uses. Overall, make sure you’re using simple ingredients that consumers understand.

How a Custom Food Manufacturer Delivers Clean Food

Delivering a clean food product on your own can be challenging for the reasons mentioned above. Fortunately, a custom food manufacturer can help. Just make sure you work with a vendor that understands what your consumers are looking for and can offer solutions that help you provide your customers with things they are most interested in. After all, your restaurant chain is unique.

What’s important for your customers is likely different than what’s important for customers of a different restaurant chain. Working with a vendor that understands your unique needs is paramount to delivering the most value to your guests.


In the end, delivering “healthy food” is all about understanding the current consumer’s definition of healthy as clean and simple. Working with the right partner can help to combine clean and simple ingredients into great tasting food that will bring value to you and your guests.


Topics: Safety