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Evolution of Health Claims in Food & Beverages

July 2022

Consumers are increasingly shifting to online shopping, and they are very interested in nutritional information. As a result, it has become vital for brand owners to position their products in the most effective way on digital platforms. In this regard, health claims have come into prominence, in line with the increasing health focus propelled by the pandemic. This report provides insights into some of the most used health claims in food and beverages, and discusses areas of opportunities.

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Key Findings

Sugar is still perceived as the number one public health enemy

As obesity becomes a public health issue in an increasing number of countries, governments are taking action to tackle it, mainly through legislation such as the HFSS (high in fat, sugar and salt) regulations in the UK, which put restrictions on the promotion of less healthy products, including those which are high in sugar.

Boosting immunity is a priority for many

Consumers’ awareness of strong immunity reached a peak during the pandemic, increasing demand for functional food and beverages with added vitamins, as well as fresh food. The growing popularity of the natural trend also propelled consumers’ desire to meet their vitamin needs through food and beverages at the expense of pills, which made “good source of vitamins” one of the leading claims in food and beverages in 2021.

The high protein claim goes beyond exclusive to mainstream

The high protein claim remains one of the most sought-after claims in food and beverages, and has become more mainstream, as opposed to being confined to sports enthusiasts, in line with the increased nutritional knowledge of consumers. The increasing proliferation of plant-based products in food and beverages has also strengthened the position of the high protein claim, owing to the efforts made to emphasise the protein content of such products.

Consumer awareness of digestive health increases

Increasing consumer awareness of digestive health (or gut health) is another factor defining food and drink labelling. In this regard, two claims came into prominence in 2021: high/source of fibre and whole grain, especially in food. However, in most cases, the whole grain claim was prioritised at the expense of the high/source of fibre claim, owing to the widely disseminated wider benefits of whole grain, one of which is being a good source of fibre.

Scope
Key findings
Digitalisation is on the rise at the expense of conventional shopping formats
“Better for me” and demand for “functional” defines product labelling to a great extend
Selected five claims with high prevalence across industries
The pressure on sugar intensifies as public health becomes a concern
Tackling obesity is one of the main drivers behind the no sugar claim
No sugar becomes a priority for many leading brand owners in confectionery
Reformulation is one way to expand in no sugar
Soft drinks remains under scrutiny due to its sugar content
No sugar increases its prevalence in soft drinks with new launches
No sugar has both opportunities and challenges for the brand owners
Protein thrives as consumers become more aware of nutritional facts
Food giants expand their high protein offerings as it becomes more mainstream
The increasing presence of plant-based contributes to the rise of high protein offerings
Consumers seek out protein mostly from fresh food
Vitamins maintain their popularity as immunity becomes a top concern
Vitamins gain traction in bottled water with launches from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo
Increasing healthy eating trends boost the use of vitamins in snacks
The future of vitamins in hot drinks looks promising
Digestive health becomes prominent in the use of high/source of fibre claim
The competition in using the claim, especially in breakfast cereals, intensifies
Fresh food benefits from the natural trend but the prevalence of fibre claims remains low
Whole grain is on the radar of health seekers
Whole grain is prioritised over high/source of fibre in packaged food
Prospective areas of growth
Probiotic offers consumers almost the whole health package in one go
Emerging markets hold a high potential for probiotics
Consumers’ holistic approach to health increases the expectations from food and beverages
The rising demand for natural solutions creates opportunities for “skin health”
Regulations promote no sugar and whole grain in Asia Pacific
UK’s fight with high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) products intensifies with new restrictions
Key takeaways
Outlook for health claims in food and beverages
Product Claims and Positioning method

Health and Wellness

Health and wellness is the aggregation of organic food and beverages, fortified/functional food and beverages, naturally healthy food and beverages, better for you food and beverages and food intolerance products.

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