Free-from Food Trends - US - May 2015
"Foods bearing a free-from claim appear increasingly relevant to consumers, even as those claims begin to cite relatively obscure ingredients. Free from food trends, in consumers’ eyes, are closely tied to health – whether their own, their family’s, or the planet’s."
This report looks at the following issues:
- GMOs receive regulatory approval but consumer scorn
- Cost impacts interest in free-from foods
- Consumers expect controversial ingredients in snacks, frozen meals
More than three quarters of free-from purchasers seek free-from claims out of a desire for more natural/less-processed foods, and this interest is contributing to the surge in items free of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and growth hormones. Relatively few consumers regard foods bearing a free-from claim as worth an extra cost, however, suggesting the prevailing opinion is that foods should be inherently natural and “real.”
Overall, consumers perceive foods with any free-from claim to be both healthier and less processed, thereby meeting two of the industry’s largest trends head-on. Furthermore, consumers appear to be equating genetic modification, artificial, and unhealthy as one and the same, and those consumers are likely to turn away from product labels with unfamiliar ingredients or ingredients perceived as chemically complex or unnatural. The interest in real food appears much more motivating even than the incorporation of healthy ingredients, particularly among Millennials and households with children. The challenge for manufacturers could be creating free-from products (particularly those that meet the demand for allergen-free) with cleaner ingredient legends.
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