The clean labeling movement has remained at the forefront of packaging design conversation for the past few years. People have expressed interest in buying products with simple formulations and instantly recognizable ingredients, and as long as this desire exists, companies will meet it. While at first, clean labeling may have appeared to be confined to the food and beverage industry, it's become clear over time that other categories of products – such as skin-care creams – are subject to the same trend.
Health and Beauty Products Tout Food Connections
New Food Economy recently profiled the rise of clean labeling practices in the health and beauty aisle. The relationship between skin care and food has gotten closer as the trend toward simple and comprehensible ingredients has deepened. Since skin-care products are often made with chemical compounds that buyers may not recognize on sight, producers have turned to food as a way to appeal to shoppers.
This harnessing not just of not just a food-based labeling trend but actual ingredients from the produce aisle shows both the power and the limitations of clean labeling. While companies know they can attract eyes to their products by using simple ingredient listings, the challenge becomes what to say when they can't simplify the formulas for their products.
It's possible for brands to go too far with their labeling when they conflate food and cosmetics. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't have control over package labeling for cosmetics. As New Food Economy pointed out, this has led to the trend of health and beauty companies making dubious claims about their products.
Honesty and Simplicity – Core Values
Clean labeling doesn't have to be an over-the-top appeal to customers. A preference for honesty and transparency is the guiding force behind the ongoing trend, and sticking to those values is one way to create appealing health and beauty packaging. Food Navigator USA quoted Voicebox Creative's Jacques Rossouw on what consumers want, and he specified that simplicity is the No. 1 value among shoppers today.
People don't want to feel that companies are hiding anything from them. Roussow pointed out there's an opportunity to make labels more compelling by including transparent elements or easily comprehensible pictures of the products. While abstraction may have been successful in the past, today's shoppers want both imagery and language to be clear. When labels tell people exactly what they're about to open, they're able to buy with confidence.