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Consumers are Reading Labels More Carefully Than Ever, Seeking Natural Ingredients

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Euromonitor International Bio

CHICAGO – Global market research company Euromonitor International released today results from its annual Global Consumer Trends tracking survey of 28,000 online respondents in 20 markets worldwide. Among many findings, the new data shows that consumers are more conscientious about food and beverage labels and look for green product features that directly influence themselves and their families.

Fifty-three percent of survey respondents avoided at least five food ingredients in 2016, up from 35 percent in 2015. Concerns about artificial sweeteners, GMOs as well as trans-fat and hydrogenated oils increased the most – at least 9 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,” Lisa Holmes, senior survey analyst at Euromonitor International, said.

Products labelled as ‘natural’ continue to resonate with 50 percent of survey respondents considering ‘natural’ product labels trustworthy in 2016 – a 14 percentage point increase from 2011.

However, a universal understanding of ‘natural’ when it comes to product labels from a consumer’s perspective is unclear. In 2011, 48 percent of survey respondents defined ‘natural’ as having strict regulations, which dropped to 26 percent in 2016. Similarly, 44 percent of respondents defined ‘natural’ as respecting animal welfare in 2011, which also decreased to 28 percent in 2016.

“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,” Holmes said.

Consumers are also focusing on green, or eco-friendly, products that provide a direct self-benefit. Though 66 percent of consumers try to have a positive impact on the environment, only 15 percent are willing to pay more for recyclable products – whereas 39 percent are 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,” 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.”

Euromonitor’s Global Consumer Trends survey annually tracks and explores the everyday habits and preferences of consumers worldwide, covering topics ranging from shopping activities to technology usage to spending patterns and cooking habits. To learn more, visit: http://www.euromonitor.com/survey.


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