Health and wellness still front of mind for grocery shoppers

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 20th October 2009

New research from Europe suggests that the health and wellness focus of shoppers has only strengthened during the difficult financial times.

The study*, from ingredients firm Tate & Lyle, shows that consumers continue to see health and wellness as an important issue and will pay more for foods that display health benefits on their labels.

The results also convey an increasing awareness and sophistication amongst participants in their attitudes towards their diet and their perceptions of food labelling.

Which health claims are alluring?

Tate & Lyle’s research revealed that across Europe, 53% of consumers often check nutritional information on-pack, and 57% check the ingredient list at the back of a packaging, confirming their interest in labelling to determine if a product is healthy.

The majority see less fat and sugar as important benefits, while around four in five respondents noted that they would be prepared to spend more on specific claims which have so far been less common, such as ‘improving cardiovascular health’ and ‘helps to control cholesterol’, suggesting an opportunity for manufacturers.

High fibre products also appear to have potential with most feeling their diet lacks fibre – particularly young people. Polydextrose was the most appealing fibre (61%) and three in four suggested fructose was their favourite sweetener.

The taste factor

Despite a desire for healthier fare, consumers are not yet willing to compromise on taste, with only 20 per cent claiming to accept such a compromise.

“Understanding that consumers still view health and wellness as extremely important, and look to on-pack labelling for guidance, will enable our customers to respond to these consumers preferences,” Anne Barry, Marketing Officer of Tate & Lyle Food and Industrial Ingredients in Europe, said.

* The findings, from Germany, France, the UK, Spain and Italy, are part of the company’s ongoing research into European consumer’s attitudes towards labelling, ingredients and shopping habits.