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Clean Eating

Clean Eating

Clean Eating

It may not be new, but Clean Eating has become the latest hot food trend.

It sounds right for the times, but what does it actually mean and what does the average consumer think it offers them? We have been doing a lot of research into Free From foods and wanted to understand the relationship between clean eating and other health and diet driven trends.

Our research into clean eating* revealed that a typical sample of healthy living consumers didn’t identify with the trend. They were aware of the phrase, but it lacked direct relevance to them and their lifestyle.

Probing confirmed that they adhere to many of the principles of clean eating, but don’t consciously see the phrase as a relevant description for their behaviour. It was seen as a marketing term rather than a defined plan, or principle.

What did they say about their approach?

  • They described themselves as healthy, not clean, eaters.
  • But they recognise that how they eat could be defined as following a clean eating diet.
  • They had adopted many of the basic principles of clean eating, including choosing whole, natural, rather than processed foods, looking for ‘clean’ ingredient lists, cooking from scratch, watching out for fat, sugar and salt levels and keeping a close eye on nutritional information.


But their perceptions went further…

  • Food sourcing was part of the wider aspects of a healthy lifestyle choice, beyond a clean eating regime, including food provenance, air miles, seasonality, ethical trading and choosing local produce.
  • Sustainability in terms of environmental impact, ethical farming and the form and role of packaging were included.
  • Overall a more holistic approach to diet and lifestyle that goes beyond the simplistic description of clean eating.


And there was no confusion with Free From:

  • Whilst Free From foods had been adopted by some Lifestylers, they were not considered to be healthy, or clean for this group of informed consumers, with limited relevance for them.
  • There was no convergence in opinions that being’ free from’ implied being ‘clean’.


*Two stages of research were undertaken:

  •  Stage 1: Initial exploratory research using Foodfax panellists to determine their understanding of clean eating and key diet considerations
  • Stage 2: Two qualitative discussion groups were undertaken (with consumers interested in healthy eating) to establish and understand the most important issues within the dietary change category and perceptions of clean eating


Click here to see the clean eating infographic (PDF format)

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