Consumers Request Details of Natural Ingredients on Product Labels

Increasing number of consumers paying close attention to food and beverage labels.

A survey has revealed that more consumers than ever pay close attention to what goes into their food and drink when making purchasing decisions.

Results from Euromonitor’s annual Global Trends Survey revealed that more than a third of consumers pay close attention to product labels when deciding what to purchase for themselves and their families.

The findings indicate that quality and ingredients are catching up with price as deciding factors in the choice between brands. To remain competitive in the 21st Century market, suppliers and retailers must focus their attention on what goes on to their printed labels.

Attractive packaging and a clearly marked price are no longer sufficient. Consumers expect detailed information regarding ingredients, provenance and other factors – and this information needs to be clearly and concisely presented to busy shoppers with a multitude of choices.

Global Consumer Trends

Euromonitor International Ltd is a UK-based market research firm that provides a variety of data to businesses and academic institutions. Its annual Global Consumer Trends survey canvasses opinions from 28,000 respondents in 20 different markets around the world.

The results are analysed to provide information on consumer trends and preferences worldwide, looking at everything from shopping activities to cooking habits.

Natural Products

This year’s results have shown that purchasers the world over are more interested in “green” product features and are seeking out certain keywords on product labels when buying food and drink.

This does not necessarily mean consumers are spending hours reading every word on the label, however. Confidence relates just as much to the overall “feel” of a product – for example, more than half of those surveyed have more trust in a product that has the word “Natural” on its label.

Interestingly, this is in spite of the fact that fewer people indicated a clearly defined idea of what the word actually means. Five years ago, almost half of respondents believed that “natural” implied adherence to some specific regulation, while this year this percentage dropped to around a quarter. This strongly suggests that implications of green credentials can almost subconsciously win the confidence of today’s critical consumers – even though when asked to really think about it, those same consumers acknowledge that calling something “natural” does not necessarily have any defined meaning.

Avoiding Unhealthy Eating

Where people do read ingredients in details, it is more commonly with a view to avoiding certain ingredients than seeking them out. Last year, around a third of purchasers indicated that they actively avoid at least five ingredients when buying food and drink. This year, that percentage has risen to more than half. Lisa Holmes, a senior survey analyst at Euromonitor described a “must avoid list” that features large in the purchasing decisions of more and more consumers.

Unsurprisingly, the most-avoided ingredients include trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Concern for all of these saw an increase of around ten percentage points over the past year.

Judging A Book By Its Cover

The survey results show an unmistakable trend in the increasing importance of food labelling to consumers. To remain competitive in both the national and global economy, suppliers need to pay more attention than ever on what their labels say and how they say it.