Spirulina is a trending clean label ingredient.

Clean label is now much more than a trend and is now regarded as standard in the food industry. Over 20 percent of new US products tracked in 2014 featured a clean label positioning, up from 17 percent in 2013, according to Innova Market Insights data.

Consumers are demanding shorter and more recognizable ingredients lists and manufacturers are responding by increasingly highlighting the naturalness and origins of their products. With growing concerns over the lack of a definition of "natural," however, there is a need for more clarity and specificity, with consumers, retailers, industry and regulators all driving the demand for more transparency in food labeling.

With high demand for ingredient solutions driven by consumer interest in healthier options, ADM Milling features new ideas for bread products like gluten-free flatbread made with ADM sorghum flour.

Brook Carson, director of R&D at ADM Milling, explains that sorghum flour is readily available and offers a clean neutral color and flavor, while some ancient grains have very distinct flavors. Sorghum can also be grown locally, playing well to the consumer demand for more local foods.

Whole grain products continue to be in demand with consumers.

Whole grains is another important consumer trend, and Carson notes that bakers are now incorporating more whole grains beyond breads and into cookies, snacks and crackers. “We are working with customers to take whole grains up to the next level,” Carson says.

Bay State Milling is another company on the forefront of innovation. For instance, BeneGrain Sprouted Wheat Flour from Bay State Milling delivers the benefits of whole wheat along with a deliciously mild, less bitter flavor. A direct replacement for conventional whole wheat, it is earning a place in a variety of grain-based applications from breads to tortillas, snacks and cereals.

In other innovations for breads, Corbion was honored with an Innovation Award at the Institute of Food Technologists’ 2015 show for its Ultra Fresh Premium Advantage Enzyme Blend, which extends the shelf life, freshness, taste and flavor of bread while enabling the reduction of some ingredients, such as added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and yeast.

The bio-based enzyme’s ability to extend shelf life seven or more days may enable bakeries to expand distribution to new geographies or potentially expand to new outlets such as convenience, drug and dollar stores. In the consumer’s pantry, the extra shelf life may translate to reduced waste.

Responding to the latest trend of food-conscious consumers who value local, ethical and pure foods, Ardent Mills delivers new ways to bring nourishing ingredients to the table. At IFT, Ardent Mills sampled applications such as a Toasted Crawfish Roll featuring 55% Sprouted White Spring Whole Wheat Flour and Wild Berry Mini Pies featuring 70% Organic Flour and 30% Organic 9-Grain Flour.

Ardent Mills features new developments to existing products, such as Ultragrain Plus Protein—another innovation to the Ultragrain product line, following in the footsteps of Ultragrain High Performance, Ultragrain All-Purpose Flour Blend T-1 and Ultragrain All-Purpose Flour Blend T-2. Products like Ultragrain make the switch easy by providing whole grain nutrition with the taste, texture and appearance of white flour that consumers love—and now in a variety of formats to meet any need. Ardent Mills also offers Ancient Grain Flours, Custom Grain & Seed Blends, Sustagrain Ultra-High Fiber Barley and Eagle Mills Gluten-Free All-Purpose Multigrain Flour Blend.

“It’s not just about health and wellness,” says Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills. “It’s about offering consumers products that are both nutritious and delicious. Ardent Mills is nourishing what’s next with nutrient-rich, on-trend grain solutions that deliver superior performance and consumer appeal.”

Most consumers eat whole grains primarily for the health benefits.

Puravita is Puratos’ new range of nutritious grain mixes, which come in three varieties: Puravita Whole Grain, Puravita 12 Grain, and Puravita Artisan Gourmet Mixed Grain. These convenient and ready-to-use solutions are blends of various grains and seeds, exemplifying delicious taste and exceptional quality. Each Puravita mix has its own characteristic blend of grains, nutritional values and flavor profiles.

Puravita mixes are designed to cater to health conscious consumers. In a recent study, it was concluded that 81 percent of consumers who ate whole grains primarily did so because of the health benefits.

According to Bill Morecraft, general manager for Blue Diamond Almonds Global Ingredients Division, as the trend for healthier and more nutritious ingredients gains momentum among consumers, food manufacturers continue to seek partners who can help create products that meet these demands. Almond flour will contribute to the nutritional enhancement and expansion of formulation possibilities for food manufacturers around the world. Blue Diamond has introduced three almond flour options: Extra Fine Natural, Extra Fine Blanched and Fine Blanched.

“Almond flour is nutritiously superior to other processed flours,” Morecraft says, noting that each quarter cup serving contains 6 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber and 75 mg of calcium. “Additionally, almond flour is low on the glycemic index, is naturally gluten-free and a great food source of antioxidant Vitamin E.”