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Food Formulation Trends: Ingredients Consumers Avoid


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Food Formulation Trends: Ingredients Consumers Avoid

For many Americans, the question isn’t what to eat for dinner, it’s how can I avoid certain foods when eating dinner. Food intolerance and food allergies have become a way life – be it for health or health attitude reasons.
This trend is likely to perpetuate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the numbers of people with allergies is on the rise. A growing number of people have opted to avoid ingredients, such as gluten. It’s almost hard to avoid the idea that certain ingredients are bad for you – news accounts, social media and online sources abound with messages that some ingredients are a health threat to everyone, not just the limited number of people who have been diagnosed with an allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity.

Recognizing the opportunity to appeal to concerned consumers who also tend to be trendsetters for other consumers, food manufacturers have become extremely accommodating to this trend, reformulating products to eliminate those ingredients that are being shunned. This isn’t new, of course: food manufacturers have been reformulating their products for decades, especially in reducing fat, sugar and salt. 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). Even General Mills, which as a corporation has spent considerable sums to defeat mandatory GMO labeling laws, has introduced a non-GMO version of Cheerios.

Food Formulation and Ingredient Trends: What Consumers Avoid offers an up-to-date assessment of developments in the food avoidance trend. In addition to looking at 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.
Scope and Methodology

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 Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Survey completed in June 2013.

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.


  • Executive Summary
    • Scope and Methodology of This Report
      • Consumer Use Data
      • Product Information
    • Context and Issues
      • Food Avoidance on the Increase
      • USDA Reports Consumer Diet Improvements
    • Key Food/Ingredient Categories
      • Table Types of Foods Bought When Watching Diet, 2013 (percent of adult population presently watching their diet)
    • Fat
      • Table Reason for Watching Diet-Cholesterol Level, Fat Intake, and Heart Disease, 2013 (percent of adult population presently watching their diet)
    • Sweeteners
      • Table Reason for Watching Diet-Blood Sugar Level and Diabetes, 2013 (percent of adult population presently watching their diet)
    • Sodium
      • Table Trends in Reasons for Watching Diet-Hypertension and Salt Intake, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
    • Food Intolerances/Sensitivities/Allergies
    • Food Processing Additives
      • Table Preference for Foods Without Artificial Additives, 2007-2013 (percent of U.S. households)
    • Agricultural Production
      • Table Concern About GMO Food Products, June 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
    • Other Food/Ingredient Categories of Note
    • Product Development
  • Food Avoidances: Context and Issues
    • Key Points
    • Context: Inclusion vs. Exclusion
      • A Perpetual Caveat
    • Caveat About Research Studies
      • American Diets Worsening
      • Motivations for Food Avoidance
      • Food Allergies May Be More Extensive Than Proven Cases Suggest
      • Food Avoidance in Larger Social Context
    • Health Concerns Drive "Free From" Product Sales
      • Food Avoidance Is Not New
    • Motivating Influences in Food Avoidance
      • Religion-Health Connection
      • Health and Wellness
      • Prevention (Avoiding Foods for Future Health)
      • Disease Management
        • Table 15 Leading Causes of Death in the U.S.
      • More Than Half of Individual Consumers and Households Are Watching Their Diet
        • Table Trends in Share of U.S. Population Watching Diet, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Trends in Share of U.S. Households Watching Diet, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. households)
      • Most Diet Watchers Want to Lose Weight
        • Table Trends in Reasons for Watching Diet, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet, 2013 (percent of adult population presently watching their diet)
      • Men Motivated to Watch Diet Out of Heart Disease Concern
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet, by Gender and Age (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet, by Race (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet, by Education (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet, by Household Income (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet, by Socio Economic Level (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet, by Region (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet, by Children in Household (index of U.S. adults)
      • Dieters Favor Several "Free From" Products
        • Table Trends in Types Of Foods Bought When Watching Diet, 2009-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Types of Foods Bought When Watching Diet, 2013 (percent of adult population presently watching their diet)
      • Smaller Portions an Emerging Trend
    • Political and Philosophical Reasons for Food Avoidance
    • Support for Organic Products
      • Distrust of Food Industry
      • Physical Appearance
      • Momentum Grows in Free-From Movement
      • The Engaged/Informed Shopper
        • Table Awareness of Nutritional Content in Grocery Products, 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
        • Table Awareness of Ingredients in Grocery Products, June 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
        • Table Shopping Behaviors of Non-GMO Consumers Compared to Total Population, June 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
        • Table Tendency to Purchase Natural, Organic, and Non-GMO Grocery Products, June 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
        • Table Awareness of "My Plate" Recommendations, February 2013 (percent of consumers)
        • Table Awareness of "Mediterranean Diet" Guidelines, February 2013 (percent of consumers)
      • Positive vs. Negative Food Claims
        • Table Importance of Food Avoidances in Household Purchases, February 2013 (percent of consumers)
        • Table Attitudes Toward Foods/Beverages Formulated for Specific Health Concerns, February 2013 (percent of consumers)
        • Table Preference for Nutritionally Enhanced Food/Beverage Products, February 2013 (percent of consumers)
        • Table Nutrients Occurring Naturally in Foods
      • Is "Free From" a Food Fad?
  • Key Food/Ingredient Categories: Fat
    • Key Points
    • Definition of Fat
      • Definitions Used in Food Labeling
    • Types of Fat Covered
      • Saturated Fat
      • Trans Fats
      • Cholesterol
    • New Medical & Scientific Research
      • Saturated Fat Controversy Erupts in UK
      • Saturated Fat Controversy Not New
    • New U.S. Guidelines on Cholesterol Are Questioned
    • New Regulatory Directions
      • Accelerated Trans Fats Ban Sought
      • Healthy Oils Available
    • Consumer: Attitudes/Behavior
      • Cholesterol Levels a Leading Driver for Watching Diet
        • Table Trends in Reasons for Watching Diet-Cholesterol Level, Fat Intake, and Heart Disease, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet-Cholesterol Level, Fat Intake, and Heart Disease, 2013 (percent of adult population presently watching their diet)
      • Older Consumers Are Exceptionally Likely to Watch Diet for Cholesterol, Fat, Heart Disease
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Cholesterol Level, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Fat Intake, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Heart Disease, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
      • Low/Non-Fat Foods Show Higher Usage Rates Than Low Cholesterol Foods
        • Table Trends in Use of Low Fat, Fat-free, and Low Cholesterol Foods When Watching Diet, 2009-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Use of Low Fat, Fat-free, and Low Cholesterol Foods When Watching Diet, 2013 (percent of U.S. adults and percent of U.S. adults presently watching their diet)
      • Consumers of Low/Non-Fat, Low Cholesterol Foods Are Younger, Affluent
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Purchase of Low Fat Foods When Watching Diet, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Purchase of Fat Free/Non-fat Foods When Watching Diet, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Purchase of Low Cholesterol Foods When Watching Diet, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Trends in Household Use of Low Fat/Fat-Free Products, 2009 vs. 2013 (percent of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Low Fat/Fat-free Foods, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
      • Frozen Desserts, Spreads the Most Commonly Used Low Fat/Fat-Free Products
        • Table Usage Rates for Selected Low Fat/Fat-free Products/Product Types, Spring 2013 (percent of U.S. households)
        • Table Usage Rates for Selected Low Fat/Fat-free Product Categories, Spring 2013 (percent of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Low Fat/Fat-free Ice Cream & Sherbet, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Low Fat/Fat-free Mayonnaise, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Low Fat/Fat-free Margarine, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Low Fat/Fat-free Chips, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Low Fat/Fat-free Cookies, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Low Fat/Fat-free Cold Cuts, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
      • Experian Marketing Services: Lifestyles, Food Lifestyles, Health and Well-Being, and Shopping Behavior of Low Fat Food Consumers
      • Psychographics of Fat Avoiders
        • Table Selected Psychographic Classifications of Low Fat/Fat-free Food Consumers, Spring 2013 (U.S. households)
  • Key Food/Ingredient Categories: Sweeteners
    • Key Points
    • Definition of Sweetness
    • Several Different Types of Sweeteners
      • Sugars: Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose
      • Corn Syrup and High Fructose Corn Syrup
      • Lactose
      • Honey
      • Stevia, Agave Syrup, and Other Natural Sweeteners
      • Organic Stevia Introduced
    • Artificial Sweeteners
      • Aspartame
    • New Regulatory Directions
      • EU Health Claim for Fructose
      • NYC Ban on Big Sugar Drinks in Court
      • Lower Sugar Consumption Recommended
    • Consumer Attitudes/Behavior
      • About 13% of All Consumers and Nearly One-Quarter of Diet-Watchers Monitor Blood Sugar
        • Table Trends in Reasons for Watching Diet-Blood Sugar Level and Diabetes, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet-Blood Sugar Level and Diabetes, 2013 (percent of adult population presently watching their diet)
      • Age is a Determining Factors in Watching Diet for Blood Sugar, Diabetes
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Blood Sugar Level, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Diabetes, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
      • More Consumers Use Sugar-Free Than Low Sugar Foods When Watching Diet
        • Table Trends in Use of Sugar-Free or Low Sugar Foods When Watching Diet, 2009-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Trends in Use of Sugar-Free or Low Sugar Foods When Watching Diet, 2013 (percent of U.S. adults and percent of U.S. adults presently watching their diet)
      • Users of Sugar-Free Foods/Low Sugar Foods Are Older, Well-Educated
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Purchase of Sugar-Free Foods When Watching Diet, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Purchase of Low Sugar Foods When Watching Diet, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
      • Over Four in 10 Households Use Sugar Substitutes
        • Table Trends in Household Use of Sugar Substitutes, 2005 vs. 2013 (percent of U.S. households)
      • Age, Region Factor Strongly in Use of Sugar Substitutes
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Sugar Substitutes, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
      • Experian Marketing Services: Lifestyles, Food Lifestyles, Health and Well-Being, and Shopping Behavior of Sugar-Free/Low Sugar Food Consumers
      • Psychographics of Sugar Avoiders
        • Table Selected Psychographic Classifications of Sugar-Free Food Consumers, Spring 2013 (U.S. households)
        • Table Selected Psychographic Classifications of Low Sugar Food Consumers, Spring 2013 (U.S. households)
  • Key Food/Ingredient Categories: Sodium
    • Key Points
    • Salt
    • Salt and Health
      • Sodium Sources in Foods
    • New Medical & Scientific Research
      • Research Focus on New Ways to Reduce Sodium Risk
      • Possible Direction Change in Sodium Reduction
    • New Regulatory Directions
    • Food Formulation/Ingredient Trends
      • The "Low Sodium" Turnoff and Beyond
    • Yeast and Mushrooms as Salt Replacements
      • Consumer Attitudes and Behavior
        • Table Trends in Reasons for Watching Diet-Hypertension and Salt Intake, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Hypertension, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Salt Intake, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Trends in Use of Low Sodium Foods When Watching Diet, 2009-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Use of Low Sodium Foods When Watching Diet, 2013 (percent of U.S. adults and percent of U.S. adults presently watching their diet)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Purchase of Low-Sodium Foods When Watching Diet, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Low Sodium Crackers, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of Unsalted Pretzels, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Use of No-Salt Potato Chips, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. households)
        • Table Selected Psychographic Classifications of Low Sodium Consumers, Spring 2013 (U.S. households)
  • Key Food/Ingredient Categories: Food Intolerances/Sensitivities/Allergies
    • Key Points
    • The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004
    • The Big 8
      • Food Additive Intolerance
      • Reactions to Allergens and Additives
    • Egg Allergy
    • Fish Allergy
    • Milk Allergy
    • Peanut Allergy
    • Shellfish Allergy
    • Soy Allergy
    • Tree Nut Allergy
    • Wheat Allergy
      • Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance
      • Gluten Free Driving Growth of "Free From" Category
      • Wheat Belly Drives Wheat Avoidance
    • Beyond the Big 8
      • Meat and/or Poultry Allergy
      • Corn Allergy
    • Food Formulation/Ingredient Trends
      • Looking for New Opportunities in Gluten-Free
    • New Medical & Scientific Research
      • Allergies Increasing - But Why?
    • Regulatory Developments
      • The Food Safety Modernization Act
    • Consumer: Attitudes/Behavior
      • A Growing Number of Consumers Watch Their Diets for Food Allergy, Lactose Intolerance
        • Table Trends in Reasons for Watching Diet-Food Allergy, Lactose Intolerance, or Gluten Intolerance, 2004-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Reason for Watching Diet-Food Allergy, Lactose Intolerance, or Gluten Intolerance, 2013 (percent of adult population presently watching their diet)
      • Gender, Age, Education Distinguish Avoidance Due to Food Intolerances
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Food Allergy, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Lactose Intolerance, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Watching Diet for Gluten Intolerance, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
      • Use of Specialty Foods Exceeds Rate of Complaints About Intolerances
        • Table Trends in Use of Lactose-Free Foods When Watching Diet, 2009-2013 (percent of U.S. adults)
        • Table Use of Lactose-Free and Gluten-Free Foods When Watching Diet, 2013 (percent of U.S. adults and percent of U.S. adults presently watching their diet)
      • Race the Predominant Factor in Purchase of Lactose-Free Foods
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Purchase of Lactose-Free Foods When Watching Diet, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
      • Consumers Cutting Back on Wheat Flour and Gluten
      • Women Likely Consumers of Gluten-Free Foods
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Purchase of Gluten-Free Foods When Watching Diet, Spring 2013 (index of U.S. adults)
      • Experian Marketing Services: Lifestyles, Food Lifestyles, Health and Well-Being, and Shopping Behavior of Lactose-Free and Gluten-Free Food Consumers
      • Psychographics of Lactose and Gluten Avoiders
        • Table Selected Psychographic Classifications of Lactose-Free Food Consumers, Spring 2013 (U.S. households)
        • Table Selected Psychographic Classifications of Gluten-Free Food Consumers, Spring 2013 (U.S. households)
  • Key Food/Ingredient Categories: Food Processing Additives
    • Key Points
    • The Wide World of Food Additives
    • History of Additive Use
      • 1958 Food Additives Amendment
    • Reasons for Additive Avoidance
      • Delayed Reactions Muddle Awareness
    • Marketers Responding with Natural Additives
      • Foodservice Experiencing Food Avoidance Trend
      • Replacing Artificial with Natural Additives
    • New Regulatory Directions
      • Phosphates Under Review
    • Consumer: Attitudes/Behavior
      • Most Consumers Avoid Highly Processed Foods, Prefer Those with Fewer Ingredients
        • Table Resistance to Highly Processed Foods, February 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
        • Table Preference for Groceries with Fewer/Simpler Ingredients, June 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
        • Table Attitudes Toward Processed Foods Reformulated in "Free From" Versions, February 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
      • Consumers Favor Additive-Free Foods
        • Table Preference for Foods Without Artificial Additives, 2007-2013 (percent of U.S. households)
      • Asian Consumers Especially Inclined to Avoid Additives
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring a Preference for Additive-Free Foods, Spring 2013 (percent and index of U.S. adults)
      • Experian Marketing Services: Lifestyles, Food Lifestyles, Health and Well-Being, and Shopping Behavior of Consumers Who Prefer Foods Without Artificial Additives
      • Psychographics of Additives Avoiders
        • Table Selected Psychographic Classifications of Consumers Who Prefer Additive-Free Foods, Spring 2013 (U.S. households)
  • Key Food/Ingredient Categories: Agricultural Production
    • Key Points
    • Issues with Plant and Animal Food Products
      • Issues with Plant-Based Foods
      • Issues with Animal-Based Foods
    • Changing Regulatory Environment
      • Grass-Fed Alternatives for Avoiders
      • GMO Perceptions
      • Demand for GMO Ingredients to be Labeled Natural
      • Major Cereal Companies Turning From GMOs
      • Avoiders Still Need Safe Products
    • New Medical & Scientific Research
    • New Regulatory Directions
      • Beta Agonists Labeling Move
    • Pesticide Concerns
    • Consumer Attitudes/Behavior
      • Consumers Wary of Growth Hormones, GMOs in Foods
        • Table Avoidance of Artificial Growth Hormones, February 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
        • Table Concern About GMO Food Products, June 2013 (percent of U.S. consumers)
        • Table Importance of Non-GMO Labeling on Grocery Purchases, June 2013 (percent of consumers)
        • Table Tendency to Purchase Organic Groceries to Avoid GMOs, June 2013 (percent of consumers)
        • Table Importance of Sustainability/Environmental Issues When Making Meat/Poultry/Seafood Purchasing Decisions, June 2013 (percent of consumers)
  • Product Trends and Opportunities
    • Key Points
    • Specialty Marketers, Store Brands Drive "Free-From"
    • Formulations Tend Toward Substitution, Not High-Tech
      • Table Selected New "Free-From" Products, 2012-2013
      • Examples of Free From Products
  • Other Food/Ingredient Categories of Note
    • Key Points
    • Some Additional Areas of Food/Ingredient Avoidance
    • Calories
    • Caffeine
    • Fiber
    • Irradiation
    • BPA
    • Nanotechnology

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