Better World Naturals attains global first with Clean Label Project certification

The Chinese-founded Better World Naturals plant-based ingredient manufacturer specialising in sustainable natural extracts, including for confectionery, has attained a reported global first in achieving Clean Label Project certification.

As the Shanghai business revealed, the Clean Label Project, the leading non-profit organisation that uses data and science to bring transparency to consumer product labelling, awarded the certification after undergoing a comprehensive assessment process.

The company acknowledged that food and dietary supplement quality scandals have dented consumer trust and intensified scrutiny of the integrity of the supply chain. Today, the industry’s effort to regain trust is being complicated by COVID-19 and its impact on in-person audits, amplifying the importance of testing and certifications as gatekeepers for quality and authenticity. Against that backdrop, brands are reformulating products to meet public demand for clean-labelled products.

The business was founded in 2018 as a joint venture of MITSUI and Huabao. It was created to provide quality natural ingredients using a trusted and transparent, vertically integrated supply system.

Speaking to Confectionery Production, Better World Naturals explained that its range includes rosemary extracts (see main image), which are authorised in US and EU as a food additive – with the business offering deodorised water soluble, oil-soluble liquid and powder form of the extracts in order to ease the use of our extracts in various applications. In confectionery, it is used as a flavour, and can avoid rancidity of oil formulated chocolate.

Furthermore, the company’s ginseng offerings also have strong confectionery applications, with the ingredient regarded as an energy booster, with its functional properties reportedly making it suitable for use within gummy ranges.

Plant-based, naturally sourced ingredients are good fit for the clean-label agenda, but the use of such materials exposes brands to new challenges. Notably, plant-based ingredients can be contaminated with substances such as heavy metals, pesticides, mycotoxins, and plasticisers, or adulterated with undeclared compounds and non-compliant plant species. The discovery of such contaminants and adulterants in a product can significantly damage a brand’s standing with consumers.

Clean Label Project Certification signifies that consumers can trust products that contain Better World Naturals’ ginseng and rosemary extracts. Through the certification, Clean Label Project has recognised Better World Naturals’ work to ensure the integrity of the supply chain by providing clean ingredients to food and dietary supplement manufacturers and increasing consumer transparency. The certification is important given concerns about the negative health effects of contaminants.

“At the Clean Label Project, we believe that sometimes what’s not on a label is what matters most. The long-term threat of cancers and reproductive disorders linked to industrial and environmental contaminant exposure have largely gone unnoticed, untested, and therefore unregulated in food and consumer products, until now. Clean Label Project Certification addresses that gap by building on the strictest regulation in the US by evaluating products to protect consumers from contaminants and chemicals of concern,” Jaclyn Bowen, Executive Director of the Clean Label Project, said.

Better World Naturals’ status as the world’s first ingredient manufacturer to get Clean Label Project Certification is testament to its approach to supply chain integrity. Rather than rely solely on testing, which can fail to detect all contaminants and adulterants, Better World Naturals has implemented a vertically integrated supply chain called Prevent4Trust. The goal is to prevent quality issues by proactively raising standards and mitigating threats from the field to the formulated ingredient.

“Tests and certifications are an important guarantee of quality for our customers and consumers. Nevertheless, we believe testing alone cannot guarantee quality in the long term. Rather, at Better World Naturals we complement testing with traceability, working with farmers in the field to ensure consistent standards while shortening supply chains to improve quality control. The model benefits all stakeholders, with farmers getting guaranteed revenues and brands receiving consistently high quality ingredients,” Laurent Zheng, Founder and General Manager of Better World Naturals, said.

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