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Consumers closely monitor fats and oils in packaged food, finds global study

Posted: 29 May 2020 | | No comments yet

The findings are from Cargill’s FATitudes, an annual study constructed to learn more about consumers’ awareness, perceptions and behaviours around fats and oils found in packaged foods, and to help inform the future of food innovation.

Consumers closely monitor fats and oils in packaged food, finds global study

Most consumers (68 percent) across the world closely monitoring the type and amount of fat and oil in their packaged food, according to a recent global study – FATitudes – from Cargill. The study confirmed that consumers track what goes into their bodies by closely reading labels of packaged foods, with fat and oil type as strong purchase consideration factors.

For this year’s FATitudes study, approximately 6,600 primary household grocery shoppers were surveyed in 12 countries including the United States, Germany, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom and more.

“This type of research is important because it gives Cargill and our customers a guidepost for our innovation efforts,” said Nese Tagma, Managing Director of Strategy and Innovation for Cargill’s global edible oils business. “As consumers’ attitudes toward fats and oils have shifted in recent years, we know they’re interested in consuming healthy amounts of oils. This research is vital to guide our thinking on whether to revitalise tried-and-true products or develop a new frying oil to adapt to changing tastes and health options.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • A majority of global consumers reported the amount of fat (70 percent) and type of oil (67 percent) are important factors when determining which packaged foods to purchase
  • How often consumers read labels differs by geography. Chinese consumers pay the most attention (89 percent), and German consumers monitor the least (48 percent)
  • Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of US consumers reported avoiding certain fats or oils, and among those who rank as “clean-label seekers,” 83 percent reported avoiding certain fats or oils, like saturated and trans fats
  • Olive oil tops the list in every country for impact on purchase and perceptions of healthfulness in packaged foods, followed by fish and avocado oils
  • A vast majority of global consumers, 93 percent, were aware of omega-3s
  • Most consumers are checking labels for fat-related claims (fat-free, low fat, etc.) on packaged foods, and 54 percent said such a claim makes them more likely to purchase
  • Consumers in Russia (76 percent), China (62 percent) and Brazil (61 percent) indicated they are more likely to purchase a product with a sustainability claim
  • In most countries, an organic certification on a label is more impactful on purchasing decisions versus a non-GMO verification.

The results from FATitudes aim to help Cargill food innovators understand what consumers want, enabling them to develop innovative products that deliver on changing needs and desires.

“Food is becoming increasingly personalised; consumers are basing their purchasing decisions on specific ingredients. At the same time, society is driving food ingredient companies to develop more options for health-conscious consumers. Using consumer insights helps us innovate in ways that balance the societal pressures with individual preferences to create healthful, sustainable and cost-effective products,” said Florian Schattenmann, CTO and Vice President of Innovation and R&D, Cargill.

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