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Attitudes towards Healthy Eating - UK - February 2016

“Working against light/diet foods is a mentality, where the focus is not on cutting out the ’bad’ ingredients (fat/sugar), but on eating highly nutritious food to boost your health. As such, products which place a strong emphasis on their nutritional excellence are likely to chime among many consumers. Drawing attention to the specific benefits can create more tangibility”
– Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Retailers can provide more guidance on healthy eating, helping to promote store loyalty
  • A focus on positive nutrition should resonate
  • Stevia offers huge – and still largely untapped – potential

The high-profile war on sugar continues to rage, with the Department of Health’s sugar swap app campaign the latest assault. This has shaped consumers’ opinions on what constitutes healthy eating, with sugar overtaking fat as the number one health foe. While there are many product categories which are naturally low in sugar so would have no need to flag this up on packaging, this still looks to be an area that warrants more attention. Given widespread mistrust towards artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners such as stevia can play an important role going forward in this respect. Boding well for this, the majority of consumers want to see more products featuring these ingredients.

Efforts to lose weight are commonplace, particularly among women. This is a reflection of the obesity epidemic as well as prolific media coverage on all issues relating to diets, body image and size. However, consumers’ aim looks to be on achieving a balanced diet, within which unhealthy foods have a place. This also leads to widespread question marks over the need for light or diet foods. Meanwhile there is strong demand for highly nutritious food, these seen to offer added value. This is reflected in the trend for superfoods, with these continuing to shape NPD.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Topics covered in this report
      • Executive Summary

          • Market factors
            • No progress in reducing overweight and obesity levels
              • Figure 1: Trends in Body Mass Index (BMI), England, 1993-2013
            • The sugar smart app is the latest push to reduce sugar intake
              • Concerns over micronutrient deficiencies within consumers’ diets
                • Companies and brands
                  • Minus claims have a strong lead over plus and functional claims
                    • Figure 2: Share of launches with minus, functional and plus nutritional of all new products in the UK food market, 2011-15
                  • Superfoods continue to attract attention and shape NPD
                    • Growth in high-fibre and -protein claims
                      • A polarisation in advertising messages between feelgood and calorie counting
                        • The consumer
                          • Most consumers try to eat healthily most or all of the time
                            • Figure 3: How often consumers try to eat healthily, by gender, November 2015
                          • Almost four in 10 women try to lose weight all or most of the time
                            • Figure 4: Weight management behaviours, November 2015
                          • Lack of awareness about daily calorie consumption
                            • Figure 5: Number of calories consumers think they consume on a typical day, by gender, November 2015
                          • Cooking from scratch helps to enable healthy eating intentions
                            • Figure 6: Behaviours relating to healthy eating, November 2015
                          • Sugar is a bigger concern than fat
                            • Figure 7: Factors deemed important when looking for healthy food, November 2015
                          • The concepts of balance and moderation are key
                            • Figure 8: Attitudes towards healthy eating, November 2015
                          • Most people are in favour of a wide range of approaches
                            • Figure 9: Attitudes towards healthy eating initiatives, November 2015
                          • What we think
                          • Issues and Insights

                            • Retailers can provide more guidance on healthy eating, helping to promote store loyalty
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • A focus on positive nutrition should resonate
                                    • The facts
                                      • The implications
                                        • Stevia offers huge – and still largely untapped – potential
                                          • The facts
                                            • The implications
                                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                              • No progress in reducing overweight and obesity levels
                                                • The obesity crisis is eating into NHS budgets
                                                  • The high-profile conversation on sugar continues
                                                    • The sugar smart app is the latest push to reduce sugar intake
                                                      • Concerns over micronutrient deficiencies within consumers’ diets
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • No progress in reducing overweight and obesity levels
                                                          • Figure 10: Trends in Body Mass Index (BMI), England, 1993-2013
                                                        • The obesity crisis is eating into NHS budgets
                                                          • Obesity increases in midlife as the emphasis on keeping healthy drops
                                                            • Figure 11: Body Mass Index (BMI), by gender and age, England, 2013
                                                          • The high-profile conversation on sugar continues
                                                            • Figure 12: Daily sugar intake, by age, UK, and share of daily food energy from added sugars, rolling programme 2008-12
                                                          • The sugar smart app is the latest push to reduce sugar intake
                                                            • The Responsibility Deal is criticised as ineffective
                                                              • The debate about taxing unhealthy food cranks up a notch
                                                                • Concerns over deficiencies within consumers’ diets
                                                                  • The debate on “healthy” fats rumbles on
                                                                  • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                    • Minus claims have a strong lead over plus and functional claims
                                                                      • Increase in L/N/R sugar claims
                                                                        • Superfoods continue to attract attention and shape NPD
                                                                          • Growth in high-fibre and -protein claims
                                                                            • Polarisation in advertising messages between feelgood and calorie counting
                                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                              • Methodology
                                                                                • Minus claims have a strong lead over plus and functional claims
                                                                                  • Minus claims reach a five-year high
                                                                                    • Figure 13: Share of launches with minus, functional and plus nutritional of all new products in the UK food market, 2011-15
                                                                                  • Increase in L/N/R sugar claims
                                                                                    • Rising use of natural sweeteners, but still embryonic
                                                                                      • Figure 14: Share of new product launches with minus claims in the overall UK food market, by claim, 2011-15
                                                                                    • Heinz gives the use of stevia some high-profile recognition
                                                                                      • Growth in high-fibre and -protein claims
                                                                                        • Fibre
                                                                                          • Figure 15: Share of new product launches with plus claims in the overall UK food market, by claim, 2011-15
                                                                                        • Protein
                                                                                          • An uptick in claims centred on energy provision
                                                                                            • Figure 16: Share of new product launches with functional claims in the overall UK food market, 2011-15
                                                                                          • L/N/R allergen and gluten-free NPD rockets
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Share of new product launches with claims relating to suitability for certain diets in the overall UK food market, 2011-15
                                                                                          • Superfoods continue to attract attention and shape NPD
                                                                                            • Use of ancient grains and seeds in NPD explodes in 2015
                                                                                            • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                              • A shift towards feelgood advertising messages
                                                                                                • Kellogg’s turns its back on diet-focused advertising for Special K
                                                                                                  • Weight Watchers encourages women to be kinder to themselves
                                                                                                    • Weetabix focuses on nutrition
                                                                                                      • Taste and calories remain central to Müllerlight advertising
                                                                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                        • Most consumers try to eat healthily most or all of the time
                                                                                                          • Almost half of adults have tried to slim down in the last year
                                                                                                            • Lack of awareness about daily calorie consumption
                                                                                                              • Cooking from scratch helps to enable healthy eating intentions
                                                                                                                • Sugar is as big a concern as fat
                                                                                                                  • The concepts of balance and moderation are key
                                                                                                                    • Most people are in favour of a wide range of approaches
                                                                                                                    • Healthy Eating Intentions

                                                                                                                      • Most consumers try to eat healthily most or all of the time
                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: How often consumers try to eat healthily, by gender, November 2015
                                                                                                                      • Over-55s and ABs have the healthiest approach to diet
                                                                                                                        • Figure 19: How often consumers try to eat healthily, by socio-economic group, November 2015
                                                                                                                    • Personal Weight Management

                                                                                                                      • Almost half of adults have tried to slim down in the last year
                                                                                                                        • Figure 20: Weight management behaviours, November 2015
                                                                                                                      • Almost four in 10 women try to lose weight all or most of the time
                                                                                                                        • Lack of awareness about daily calorie consumption
                                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Number of calories consumers think they consume on a typical day, by gender, November 2015
                                                                                                                          • Figure 22: Number of calories consumers think they consume on a typical day, by whether consumers have tried to lose weight in the last year, November 2015
                                                                                                                      • Behaviours Relating to Healthy Eating

                                                                                                                        • Cooking from scratch helps to enable healthy eating intentions
                                                                                                                          • Most people include plenty of vegetables in meals
                                                                                                                            • The trend to swap carbs for cunningly shaped vegetables
                                                                                                                              • Superfoods are kept in the public eye
                                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Behaviours relating to healthy eating, November 2015
                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Selected behaviours relating to healthy eating, by age, November 2015
                                                                                                                              • Scope to encourage more fish consumption
                                                                                                                                • One in five under-25s track their diet/exercise
                                                                                                                                • Factors Deemed Important when Looking for Healthy Food

                                                                                                                                  • Sugar is a bigger concern than fat
                                                                                                                                    • Innovation in low-sugar products lags far behind demand
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Factors deemed important when looking for healthy food, November 2015
                                                                                                                                    • Low sugar, low salt and high fibre are of most interest to over-55s
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Selected factors deemed important when looking for healthy food, by age, November 2015
                                                                                                                                    • Interest in vitamins/minerals and high protein skews towards under-35s
                                                                                                                                      • Vitamin and mineral fortification: a shortcut to health for young consumers
                                                                                                                                        • Interest in high protein peaks among male under-25s
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Further selected factors deemed important when looking for healthy food, by age, November 2015
                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Healthy Eating

                                                                                                                                        • The concepts of balance and moderation are key…
                                                                                                                                          • …casting doubts over the need for “light” or “diet” products
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Attitudes towards healthy eating, November 2015
                                                                                                                                            • A “positive eating mentality” resides with consumers
                                                                                                                                              • Awareness of the health risks linked to processed red meat
                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes towards Healthy Eating Initiatives

                                                                                                                                                • Most people are in favour of a wide range of approaches
                                                                                                                                                  • Easily comparable nutritional information is deemed to be important
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Attitudes towards healthy eating initiatives, November 2015
                                                                                                                                                  • Healthier recipe reformulations should be well received
                                                                                                                                                    • More guidance is wanted, as are rewards
                                                                                                                                                      • In-store recipes and rewards appeal
                                                                                                                                                        • Swap suggestions in high demand
                                                                                                                                                          • Brands that encourage exercise and fitness should be seen in a positive light
                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                • Consumer research methodology

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                                                                                                                                                                Attitudes towards Healthy Eating - UK - February 2016

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