Most consumers say healthy food should be manufacturers top priority
A survey has found consumers feel the eating experience of products positioned as ‘healthy’ is failing to live up to both label claims and their expectations.
CHOICES: The research was conducted in Germany, Iran, Kenya, Poland, Russia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirate and the United Kingdom
New research shows consumers want the food and drinks industry to focus on developing healthier, more nutritious food with 60 per cent of respondents saying they feel this should be manufacturers’ top priority. However, consumers made it clear that the food industry must ensure that food quality and freshness is not sacrificed as a result.
The increase in health claims has had a negative impact on the quality of food and drink, according to 71 per cent of consumers. They felt that the eating experience of products positioned as ‘healthy’ is failing to live up to both label claims and their expectations. Ingredion EMEA, an ingredients solution company that commissioned MMR to conduct the survey, said this indicates that while clean label has brought about a positive response in terms of ingredient and label transparency, it may have been achieved at the expense of overall product quality.
Mona Schmitz-Hübsch, Marketing Manager at Ingredion EMEA, said; “This research is a real wake-up call for our industry. While consumers are clear on where manufacturers should focus their future formulation efforts, such as making products healthier, at the same time the message coming through is that as an industry we need to do better when it comes to successfully combining nutrition with quality, taste and texture.
“Consumers are discerning and they are challenging us to develop recipes and reformulations that deliver a satisfactory balance between functional and sensory performance.
“Interestingly, nearly half of people questioned would pay more for a similar but healthier product, so this is a positive opportunity for food and beverage producers. We also know that dietary needs and choices that were once considered niche, such as veganism and lactose-free, are becoming more commonplace.
“However, formulating these types of product can be more complex as it may involve the replacement or removal of ingredients which can impact taste, texture and appearance. With the right functional expertise and ingredient knowledge, manufacturers can balance the urgency to get healthy products to market without sacrificing the high-quality eating experience consumers want.”