Consumers reading labels and seeking natural ingredients

Euromonitor International has released results from its annual ‘Global Consumer Trends’ tracking survey, finding that consumers are more conscientious about food and beverage labels and natural product features.

Fifty-three per cent of survey respondents said they avoided at least five food ingredients in 2016, up from 35 per cent in 2015. Concerns about artificial sweeteners and GMOs as well as trans-fat and hydrogenated oils increased the most – by at least nine percentage points – from 2015 to 2016.

“Today, more than one-third of consumers are carefully reading food and beverage labels, scanning for ingredients on their ‘must-avoid’ lists,” Euromonitor International Senior Survey Analyst Lisa Holmes said. “Most consumers agree that ‘natural’ means no artificial additives or chemicals, but opinions vary on whether natural products are also organic, strictly regulated, or healthier than non-natural.”

Consumers are also focusing on green, or ‘eco-friendly’, products that provide a direct self-benefit. Though 66 per cent of consumers interviewed said they tried to have a positive impact on the environment, only 15 per cent were willing to pay more for recyclable products – whereas 39 per cent were willing to pay more for natural features.

“While eco-conscious products may boost feelings of helping the environment, few consumers are willing to pay extra for these environmentally-focused features on their own,” Ms Holmes said. “Instead, consumers are more open to paying extra for natural and organic product features that they see as having direct benefits to themselves and their families.”