It’s no secret that consumers are flocking toward clean labels and simple ingredient lists. Through research and marketing, some ingredients have become four-letter words when found on a package today.

“Studies show that consumers are savvier about product labels and are looking at nutrition panels and ingredients before they make a purchase,” said Brooke Smith, president, Salem Baking Co. “They want to see a list of simple ingredients that they can recognize and pronounce.”

All of this has resulted in new products and formulations. But David Van Laar, president of the Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers’ Association, said it is vital to remember that the cookie and cracker industry is working to make its products healthier is nothing new.

“We have always strived to have healthy products,” he said. “Product development of all the major companies has always worked, as science became available, to change the product to the betterment of the consumer.”

He pointed out past use of lard in cookies and its eventual phasing out when the health impacts were realized. What was understood to be bad oils were removed.

“We have always included, and will continue to include, the latest scientific findings in our products to make them better for the consumer,” he said.