Ingredients Consumers Avoid: Food Formulation Trends
Tens of millions of American consumers of all ages have made food avoidance their way of life. For some consumers such as those with allergies and intolerances, avoiding certain food and ingredients is a matter of life and death. But for various other consumers the conscientious decision to avoid specific foods is a matter of choice based on a desire to lose weight or to have an overall healthier life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people with allergies is on the rise. Unsurprisingly, many sources suggest that the number of people choosing to avoid some ingredients is also increasing, with going gluten-free perhaps the most notable example presently at the forefront of national consciousness. Nevertheless, many food avoiders have no specific illness but are reacting to a barrage of messages received through social media, online, and traditional media sources suggesting that some ingredients are a health threat to the general populace, not just the limited number of people who have been diagnosed with an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity.
Food manufacturers are capitalizing on the impact food avoiders and concerned consumers have as trendsetters influencing other consumers. In doing so, these food manufacturers are shrewdly reformulating their products to eliminate undesirable ingredients. Naturally, food manufacturers have been reformulating their products for decades, especially products in which the fat, sugar, or salt contents needed to be reduced or eliminated in order to appeal to more health-conscious consumers. But in the current market, manufacturers are looking to appeal to this same base by eliminating such ingredients as gluten as well as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Scope and Methodology
Ingredients Consumers Avoid: Food Formulation Trends offers an up-to-date assessment of developments in the food avoidance trend. Besides analyzing data on consumer preferences and attitudes toward specific foods and ingredients, the report covers the actions that are being taken by food and ingredient manufacturers and grocery retailers in order to respond to consumer trends as well as what the courts and government agencies are doing in terms of defining the limits of ingredient usage.
The consumer demographics analysis was developed using data from the 12-Month Spring 2013 Simmons National Consumer Survey Adult Study Base from Experian Marketing Services. The report also draws on a proprietary June 2013 Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Survey.
Information on new product introductions was derived from an examination of the retail milieu and from relevant trade, business, and government sources, including company literature, websites, and annual reports.
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
Shoppers Mindful of Nutrition, Ingredients
Mindful consumers support the market for free-from foods, as they do the markets for other health- and wellness-oriented products. Packaged Facts’ surveys show that many shoppers:
- scrutinize labels for information about nutrition and ingredients;
- actively look for and purchase specific free-from types of grocery products;
- are aware of issues regarding diet, nutrition, and ingredients;
- take the initiative to become more educated on these issues.
The majority of U.S. consumers are aware of the nutritional value of and the ingredients contained in the groceries they buy. Most shoppers are inclined to look closely at the information presented on product labels. And more than half favor groceries with fewer and simpler ingredients.
Consumers with concerns about nutrients, ingredients, food processing, and related issues can be expected to be more likely than average to consider product content and labeling when making purchase decisions. Consumers who are concerned about foods produced with the use of genetic engineering exemplify this tendency, as discussed in the Packaged Facts report Non-GMO Foods: U.S. Market Perspective. Similarly, many consumers make a point of seeking out grocery products that are natural, organic, and/or GMO-free.
Food Avoiders Driving Increased Introduction of 'Free From' Products
There is a growing trend among American consumers, as well as in global markets, towards the avoidance of a host of specific food ingredients and components. Though shunning specific foods or ingredients is not a new phenomenon, today food avoidance has become a way of life for tens of millions of American consumers of all ages and is increasingly impacting the product trajectory of the U.S. food and beverage industry, according to Ingredients Consumers Avoid: Food Formulation Trends, a report by market research publisher Packaged Facts.
For some consumers, avoiding certain foods and ingredients is a matter of life and death due to allergies and sensitivities or specific health problems, such as celiac disease, diabetes, or lactose intolerance. However," free from" food products are increasing in popularity among consumers without any specific mandatory medical motives or religious dietary restrictions. In the absence of a specific health condition the decision to opt for "free from" products - fat-free, sugar-free, salt-free, gluten-free, and so on - can be viewed as a lifestyle choice by consumers who increasingly place a high priority on healthy living. Packaged Facts' research reveals that the rate of U.S. consumers who claim they are watching their diet remained at an average of 52% between 2006 and 2013, compared to only 28% of Americans in 2004.
"Consumers avoid certain foods or food ingredients for preventive health reasons that may be for their own personal health, the health of their children, and, among pregnant women, as a factor in prenatal health," says Packaged Facts research director David Sprinkle. "This is not about dealing with specific allergies but rather a matter of optimizing health and also about seeking to create a quality of life based on eliminating negatives, with the point being not to make oneself sick."
Food manufacturers, recognizing the opportunity to appeal to concerned consumers who also tend to be trendsetters for other consumers, are extremely accommodating to this shift toward food avoidances, reformulating products to eliminate those ingredients that are being shunned. Of course, food manufacturers have been reformulating their products for decades, especially products in which the fat, sugar, or salt contents needed to be reduced or eliminated in order to appeal to more health-conscious consumers. But there remains an opportunity for major food and beverage companies to become more active in producing "free from" products.
Recently we've seen major companies such as General Mills increasingly becoming involved in providing products that appeal to food avoiders, but specialty marketers still lead the way in producing "free-from" foods and beverages. Retailers are also increasingly engaged in providing private label versions of "free-from" products for food avoiders.
For more information on Ingredients Consumers Avoid: Food Formulation Trends, please visit http://www.packagedfacts.com/Food-Formulation-Trends-8024542/.
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