Distributors Play a Key Role in Consumer Demand for Clean Foods

Published on: 05/21/2020 in Featured, All, Menu Claims

Perdue Unipro Netnews Mar20 Menu Transparency 800X475

Today’s consumers are more interested in food transparency than ever before, and their appetite for “clean” foods is on the rise. This is much more than a passing trend: According to Innova Market Insights’ 2018 Consumer Lifestyle and Attitudes Survey, the market penetration of products with “better-for-you” claims increased from 46 percent in 2014 to 51 percent in 2018. “Better-for-you” claims include health claims, clean label claims (such as “natural” or no additives/preservatives) and free-from claims (such as allergen-free or gluten-free).1 The same survey found that 40 percent of U.S. consumers have made changes to their diets to improve their health and well-being.1 


“Clean label” isn’t a scientific term, but rather, an industry one. Claims can encompass many facets of food production, including nutrition, animal welfare and environmental benefits. Clean label’s hallmark, however, is simple, easy-to-recognize ingredients that are minimally processed. Such products contain few, if any, synthetic chemicals or artificial ingredients.2


Come Clean

In addition to the ingredients list, consumers look for cues that indicate a company’s commitment to the values of sustainability and animal welfare. Both consumers and operators want to know how animals are raised, what they are fed and what effect a brand’s farming practices have on the environment. In response, operators want clean, premium foods and protein options from their distributor partners. 


Specifically, PERDUE® HARVESTLAND®​ chicken and turkey products are made with only clean, simple, recognizable ingredients. They are responsibly raised on family farms with No Antibiotics Ever, on a 100 percent vegetarian diet with no animal by-products. The line includes gluten-free and halal options. 


PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® ORGANIC chickens, meanwhile, are certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raised in free-range environments on certified organic farms, fed a non-GMO diet with no animal byproducts, and never receive antibiotics. 


Clean Menus in the Making

Savvy operators know they must adapt to a changing consumer landscape and expand their “clean” offerings in order to stay competitive. Consider, for example, Tupelo Honey, a 15-unit chain serving upscale, yet approachable Southern cuisine. It advertises poultry dishes as “Forever Free,” alerting diners that its proteins were raised free of antibiotics and hormones. The Picnic Chicken Salad sandwich, for instance, is built with pulled “Forever Free” chicken, smoked jalapeño barbecue sauce, peperonata and organic seeded bread. 


In the quick-service space, meanwhile, both Chipotle and Panera boast menus featuring no added hormones and antibiotic-free chicken. More and more operators are embracing the concept of clean foods because they know that sooner or later, consumers will demand menu transparency and clean label options.   

Distributors have the unique opportunity to make premium, responsibly-raised products such as PERDUE®​ ​HARVESTLAND® ​chicken and turkey available to operators. By offering more transparent menu options, distributors can establish themselves as valued and trusted partners to operator clients, helping them innovate creative menus, increase profits and satisfy consumer demand.



  1. 2018 Consumer Lifestyle and Attitudes Survey, Innova Market Insights
  2. Velissariou, Maria, “What Is Clean Label?” Institute of Food Technologists, Nov. 12, 2018, http://blog.ift.org/what-is-clean-label