Deepti Karthik
Guest Article

D2C marketing strategy – The Clean Label project

Marketing in 2024 is all about affinity, advocacy and advancement in the era of Conscious Consumerism.

Sugar in baby milk in India is more than sugar in Western countries read the newspaper headline, Harmful ingredients found in Indian spices, the wave of Conscious consumerism is upon us- ever wondered how it all started?

The last decade (2010-2020) was all about “Community”, you would have seen a bunch of ads where people collaborate across nations to create something or go local to support their local community thus becoming the hero/protagonist and conveying BRAND ROLE of enabling this community development however at the turn of this decade the conversation has shifted to advancement.

We are looking ahead as to what our future looks like with the advent of AI, increasing consumer awareness of health and wellness notwithstanding Govt initiatives on cleanliness, hygiene and fitness.

What is Clean Label Practice?

Clean Label Practice started out as the “Real Food” Movement started by consumers, RealFooding demands food that is minimally processed in a way that its quality or nutrients are not diminished and citizens called for this as a basic right to healthy food and environment.

By choosing to buy sustainable products consumers put back pressure of demand on manufacturers in a bottom-up approach also paving the way often for local production. Thus, what started out as a dietary improvement has become an economic game-changer as it has in the past.

Being a consumer movement there are no legal regulations to define Clean Label however the tenets are quite simple. 

  1. Au Naturelle: Use of natural ingredients, excluding artificial Flavors, colours, preservatives, and synthetic additives.

  2. Keep it simple: Recognisable ingredients, NO chemical or artificial-sounding components.

  3. Going to roots: Transparency in ingredient sourcing and manufacturing processes.

  4. Real food only: Minimal processing techniques 

Indian D2C brands and clean labelling

Indian D2C brands caught on to this trend of Conscious Consumerism as consumers post-pandemic became more health conscious and prioritised wellness coupled with the realisation of the benefit of sustainable and ethical sourcing- D2C brands started showing up across sectors


The foodpharmer makes headlines when he points out the sugar content in food products, while his approach is more blatant Whole Truth Foods has been doing this longer with FITSHIT blog where Shashank breaks down ingredients of products feigning to be healthy but actually being far from it. 

Clean Label Food is now 4.9% of the FMCG revenue market.


MAMAEARTH came in and spoke about natural ingredients like turmeric and Ubtan for babies and our skin and is more than a billion-dollar company today. According to Mintel ( BPC market research report), consumers are focussing on “Body-mind beauty” and identified 3 key beauty trends of 2024, Neuroglow, Beaut-AI, and sophisticated simplicity.

MINIMALIST claims to have reached 100 cr revenue in 8 months following sophisticated simplicity


KOPARO went on Shark Tank and spoke about the marketing blindfold that Indians are used to, they brought to the fore the harmful chemicals present in our cleaning products which touch our plates, clothes, and floors and are ingested unwittingly.


2700Ltrs of water is needed to make one cotton T-shirt so when the water crisis dawns on urban cities, apparel enters conversation. No Nasties is an organic, fair-trade clothing brand that offers a range of organic free from harmful chemicals and pesticides.

If you want to start a clean-label brand you ought to follow these 4 simple steps: Shorten the ingredient list, replace artificial ingredients, make simple clear packaging, and implement sustainable practices in sourcing and manufacturing.

In a world where MNCs seek “purpose”, Clean Label brands’ raison d'etre they claim is driven by the purpose of “good” products which speaks to consumers who are willing to pay more to live a healthy, fit, long life thus enabling D2C brands to sprout across cities, towns of India leading the brand equity evolution from Love to Trust.

(Our guest author is Deepti Karthik, founder of Decision Pinnacle, a growth and marketing consultancy)

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