Transparency – A clear area for growth in 2021


The current pandemic has turned the spotlight squarely onto growing consumer demand for transparent and cleaner ingredients labels. With transparency a clear area for growth in 2021, Benoit Tavernier, Product Manager Specialty Rice Ingredients at BENEO discusses how manufacturers can now bring clean label ingredients into play, even in more challenging applications such as food dressings, sauces and dips.

Pandemic driving desire for label transparency

Consumers are increasingly aware of the link between health, disease prevention, well-being and the foods they choose, with 83% of consumers globally attempting to eat and drink more healthily as a result of COVID-191. Now, more than ever before, consumers want to make ethical and healthier choices and with 64% of consumers worldwide reading the labels of food packages2, what goes into our food and drink has never been so important. Mintel predicts that ethical food sales will rise by 17% to £9.6 billion between 2019 and 2023, and with 29% of European consumers looking for some kind of traceability label on their products before purchasing (e.g. organic, vegan, fair-trade)3, it’s easy to understand why.

As a larger number of consumers seek to discover more about what lies behind a brand, there has been a transition towards transparent labelling, sustainable sourcing and storytelling trends. As a result, purchasing decisions are now, more than ever before, based on a number of questions including: what are the nutritional benefits of the product? Is it an ingredient the consumer trusts, and where and how have the ingredients been produced?

While consumers are keen to know more about what they are consuming, many still find nutritional labelling confusing and crave simplicity and transparency4-6 from product labels. On their quest to discover more about the ingredients contained within, consumers are looking for natural, organic and local ingredients4-6. This has in turn led to a global shift towards cleaner and clearer labels that promote natural claims, and a willingness from consumers to pay a premium for products that do so4-6.

Picking the right functional ingredient

Creating new products that promote transparency, sustainability and storytelling is no mean feat, but it can be done by using the right ingredients. Those manufacturers that do so successfully will reap the sales rewards on offer as a result. So, if choosing the right ingredients is the key to more transparent, cleaner labelling, why is rice proving so popular with those manufacturers looking to reformulate or develop new products?

The majority of consumers regard rice starch as a natural and familiar cupboard ingredient7, with 61% of consumers worldwide regarding rice starch as natural and 71% thinking the same of rice flour8. When asked about key starch and flour ingredients (rice, corn, potato, tapioca and wheat), rice came out on top as ‘a cupboard ingredient’ (67%), ‘healthy’ (58%) and ‘easy to digest’ (51%)9. As well as being positively perceived by consumers, technical trials by the BENEO-Technology Center have shown that clean label rice starch can play an important role in a variety of applications, such as baked goods, convenient foods, soups and sauces, dairy, and many more.

Copyright: Shutterstock


The reason that rice is so versatile is because by nature, rice starch is characterised by very small granules that range from 2-8 μm, much smaller than those of other cereals, tubers and roots, such as corn and potato. Its granule size is comparable to that of fat globules. So, it can therefore be used as a natural fat replacer, as it mimics a full, fatty or creamy mouthfeel. Rice starch can be used to not just create a creamy, smooth and full-bodied mouthfeel in fat-reduced products, such as bakery fillings and dairy products, but it can also be used in confectionery applications and in gluten-free bakery products to optimise the crunchiness in cookies and to improve the shelf-life of soft baked goods. Given the wide scope of its technical benefits as a clean label texturiser, BENEO’s functional rice starch range is being used by many food and beverage manufacturers to clean up labels and promote transparency in a wide variety of applications.

Cleaning up confectionery

As a clean label whitening agent in confectionery coatings (e.g. chewing gum, chocolate lentils), BENEO’s rice starch provides a natural alternative to artificial colouring agents.  It is capable of filling up all of the micropores on the surface of coatings, due to its very small particle size. This so-called “smoothing effect” is especially beneficial for confectionery manufacturers during the production process, since it ensures a stable result.

Rice starch also offers food manufacturers exceptional whiteness, without any yellowish or greyish shine. Test trials by BENEO have also shown that rice starch is extremely stable and preserves the brilliant white colour of end products for months. This is of importance because in the past, the European Food and Safety Agency (EFSA) evaluated titanium dioxide as a food additive and since 1st January 2020, titanium dioxide – which can be used as a whitening agent – has no longer been permitted for use in food products in France. There are expectations that other EU markets may follow the country in banning the additive.

Benefits for baked goods

BENEO’s versatile portfolio of clean label rice starches offers various benefits for manufacturers within the bakery industry. For example, the precooked native rice starch, Remyline AX FG P, is a clean label ingredient that can be used to optimise the texture of a range of baked goods. Next to other benefits, it improves the hardness and crunchiness of different biscuit types and can be added in gluten-free biscuit recipe formulations, along with rice flour. Rice starch can improve the dough consistency of baked goods such as gluten-free pizza crusts or breads and can also be used as clean label texturizer in bakery creams, helping manufacturers to create cleaner ingredients lists.

Copyright: Shutterstock


Improving frozen and retorted sauces

BENEO has developed an advanced thermal inhibition process that strengthens native rice starch granules, enhancing their functional properties.  This technology has created the range of functional native starches called Remypure. These starches are clean label and at the same time have a functionality that is comparable, or superior, to chemically modified food starches – without the use of chemicals. In retorted sauces with transparent labels, Remypure S52 has proven its worth. It has also undergone recent trials in frozen sauces, with impressive results.

During frozen sauce trials, the team at the BENEO-Technology Center compared two tomato sauces, one clean label test recipe using native rice starch and one using Remypure S52. The latter responded significantly better both in terms of texture and mouthfeel, following repeated freeze-thaw cycle tests. In particular, the results showed that the viscosity of the tomato-based sauce that contained Remypure S52 performed better over four freeze-thaw cycles than the normal native rice starch.

Capabilities for cold pressed sauces, dairy desserts and bakery fillings

Recent research shows that one in three sauces and seasonings product launches now carries a clean label claim10. Given this growing interest in clean label ingredients for sauces and seasonings, it is no wonder that BENEO has extended its Remypure product range of functional native rice starches with the addition of a precooked variant. The new precooked functional native rice starch, Remypure S52 P allows food manufacturers to produce, for the first time, clean label food preparations, such as cold processed sauces, dressings, dairy desserts and bakery fillings with an instant functional native rice starch. The new ingredient delivers soft and creamy textures and excellent product stability, even under harsh processing conditions such as shear and acid.

Copyright: Shutterstock


Applications such as food dressings, sauces and dips, bakery fillings, or dairy desserts, traditionally have to withstand acidity and/or high shear during preparation, and it can be challenging to maintain optimal functionality under these conditions. The functional native texturiser Remypure S52 P provides manufacturers with the perfect solution to this problem. This pre-cooked starch performs just as well as modified starches in cold processing conditions that involve low pH and/or high shear, whilst being clean label at the same time.

Organic opportunities

With more consumers wanting to ensure that their products are ethically sourced, organic new product launches have never been as popular as they are now. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why BENEO’s new organic waxy rice starch Remyline O AX DR is a timely product launch. As a waxy rice starch, it contains no amylose and therefore maintains a stable texture throughout a product’s shelf life. Remyline is suitable for fruit preparations and organic drinks, as well as meat and poultry applications. Technical trials by experts at the BENEO-Technology Center have shown positive results for these applications, as well as for improving the texture of creamy desserts and yoghurts.

The current pandemic has intensified the demand for transparency by consumers, with expectations that this will continue to grow in importance for them in the year to come and beyond. With more consumers increasingly looking to make more ethical and healthier choices, functional ingredients such as BENEO’s rice starch range can play an important role in helping manufacturers develop exciting new cleaner label products.

For further information on BENEO and its ingredients, please visit: and or follow BENEO on

Twitter: @_BENEO or LinkedIn:

1 FMCG Gurus 2020 2
2 Health Focus International 2020
3 BENEO Health & Nutrition Survey 2019 West-Europe, N = 3863, average of the countries: BE, NL, UK, ES, FR
4-6 FMCG Gurus 2019
7 BENEO Research 2018
8 HFI Global Trend Study 2018
9 Haystack 2018
10 Mintel GNPD, Jan 2015- Sept 2020. Clean label launches are launches with All Natural Product, GMO-Free, No additives/preservatives or Organic claims on the packaging




For further information please contact:
Thomas Schmidt, Marketing Director BENEO
Maximilianstraße 10, 68165 Mannheim
Tel:  +49 621 421-151
Fax:    +49 621 421-160


BENEO has long-term experience in developing and producing ingredients from natural sources for food, feed and pharmaceutical products. These plant-based functional ingredients help improve the nutritional and technical properties of a wide variety of products, by supporting health and optimising taste and texture. The Company’s portfolio includes functional carbohydrates from sugar beet, prebiotic chicory root fibre, plant-based proteins and speciality ingredients from rice. Through a unique chain of expertise, including the BENEO-Institute that provides decisive insights into nutrition science and legislation, and the BENEO-Technology Centre that consults in application technology, BENEO supports customers by providing ingredients that promote a healthy lifestyle in a holistic way.

Formed in 2007, BENEO is active in over 80 countries, employs more than 1000 people and has five state-of-the-art production sites in Belgium, Chile, Germany and Italy.