9 Clean-Label, 'Free-From' C-Store Products

Clean label

The importance of clarity related to nutritional attributes listed on package labeling is on the rise, according to Nielsen research, particularly as consumers become increasingly focused on product and label transparency.

Sales of conventional products are declining, Nielsen said. Meanwhile, sales of products that tout simple, clean, sustainable and "free-from" attributes are on the rise. In addition to causing sales growth outpacing that of conventional products, the wave of transparent and clean-label products is also changing the assortment on store shelves as retailers look to satisfy consumer needs, the research indicated.

Moreover, the growth of clean labels isn’t limited to natural and specialty retailers but represents a mainstream movement: Ninety-three percent of U.S. households have purchased a clean-label product at grocery stores, while 70% have done so at mass merchandiser/supercenters and 31% at club stores, according to Nielsen.

Across generations, millennials and Gen X consumers are more likely to seek out and purchase products labeled organic, GMO-free and free from added hormones.

What follows are nine new products—and specific product types—that are packaged with clean and free-from labels—several of which debuted in mid-September at the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, Md. 


Fully cooked meats experienced a 2.5% increase in share from two years ago, according to Nielsen, which found that more people are looking for clean-label benefits on fully cooked meats. Sally Grimes, Tyson Foods’ group president for prepared foods, recently told investors that the raw, chilled and freshly prepared foods at the perimeter of the store have become “retail’s growth frontier” as consumers seek fresh, less-processed foods, ease and simplicity. One solution might be Tyson Grilled & Ready Fully Cooked Frozen Grilled Chicken Breast Strips, which are 100% all-natural and made with white meat chicken. 

Wholly Guacamole

Dips/spreads experienced a 1.8% increase with consumers who prefer clean labels. Wholly Guacamole has added three flavor-packed, guacamole-based Layered Dips to its portfolio. The plant-based innovations include Black Bean Over Guacamole, Roasted Corn Over Guacamole and Spicy Pico Over Guacamole. The gluten-free and kosher dips (SRP range of $2.99 to $3.49) are made with hand-scooped Hass avocados. 

Go Veggie Vegan Spread & Dip Minis

Go Veggie Vegan Spread & Dip Minis are intended for health-conscious and on-the-go consumers. Go Veggie minis are regarded as the only vegan, plant-based substitute for traditional spreads and dips. Aimed at more than 108 million Americans with special diets, whether they're seeking better nutrition or avoiding food allergens, Go Veggie minis are made from healthy coconut and are full of rich, creamy flavor. They are free from dairy, lactose, cholesterol, gluten, preservatives and GMOs and are certified kosher.

That's It Veggie Bars

Beans with clean labels grew sales 2.4%, according to Nielsen. After rolling out several fruit-bar offerings, That’s It is launching its newest brand extension, which contains beans: That’s It Veggie bars. Marked by transparent package labeling and a short ingredients list, That’s It Veggie bars come in four varieties: Black Bean + Carrot, Black Bean + Corn, Black Bean + Kale and Black Bean + Pea. The bars are free from soy, dairy, wheat, peanuts and eggs. 

Califia Farms

Milk/dairy alternatives grew sales 2.1%, according to Nielsen. All-natural, USDA-certified organic nut milks from Califia Farms are made with just four ingredients: organic nuts, water, oat fiber and a dash of sea salt. The nut milks come in almond, cashew and coconut. They are vegan and free of dairy, GMOs, soy, carrageenan and gluten. 

Goodbelly Probiotic Bar

Debuting at the Natural Products Expo East, Goodbelly Probiotic Bar from NextFoods is available in honey almond butter and cocoa peanut butter flavors. The gluten-free snack bars provide 1 billion probiotics per serving and require no refrigeration. The products are manufactured by General Mills and contain ingredients such as organic honey, organic coconut oil, buckwheat flour and puffed quinoa.

Enjoy Life

Also at Natural Products Expo East, Enjoy Life Foods, a Chicago-based subsidiary of Mondelez International, launched a line of crispy grain and seed bars. Made with sorghum and gluten-free rolled oats, the bars are free from the top 14 food allergens and contain 4 grams of plant-based protein per serving. Flavors include banana caramel, cranberry orange, chocolate marshmallow and maple sweet potato.

Health Warrior Superfoods

Health Warrior Superfoods, which encourages consumers to join its “tribe,” added two flavors to its range of pumpkin seed bars, which debuted at Natural Products Expo East.  Made with nine ingredients or fewer, the new varieties are Dark Chocolate Peanut and Honey Sea Salt. 

Organic Crispy Snack Bars

General Mills’ Annie’s unit is adding to its snacking portfolio with the debut of Organic Crispy Snack Bars in two varieties. The bars include rice and quinoa crisps and are free from high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors.