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UK Attitudes towards Healthy Eating market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Attitudes towards Healthy Eating market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report looks at consumers’ attitudes towards and behaviours related to healthy eating. It also covers the sources consumers use when looking for advice on healthy eating, uptake of healthy eating behaviours and associations consumers have with different types of diets.

Key points included

  • In-store guidance is key to encouraging healthy eating
  • Focus on gut health should help to boost people’s nutritional intake
  • More straightforward and tangible messages needed for public health campaigns

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alice Baker, a leading analyst in the Lifestyle sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Gut health is widely seen as essential for overall health, however, few people have knowingly eaten foods which support gut health. This points to a lack of awareness of which foods provide this benefit. Products with EFSA-approved claims in this area should therefore look to flag this up clearly on-pack, with plenty of scope for more innovation in this area. Pushing the digestive health angle would also help to give a much-needed boost to fibre consumption. Alice Baker
Lifestyle Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • 65% of UK adults are overweight or obese
              • Figure 1: Trends in body mass index (BMI), England, 1997-2017
            • Soft Drinks Sugar Levy comes into effect
              • Majority of sweet food categories fail to meet the sugar reduction targets
                • Improved disposable incomes could offer a boost to healthy eating
                  • Companies and brands
                    • L/N/R sugar claims gain ground rapidly over 2014-16
                      • High/added-protein claims continue to grow
                        • The consumer
                          • Six in 10 adults try to eat healthily most or all of the time
                            • Figure 2: How often consumers try to eat healthily, 2016-18
                          • Friends and family are the main source of advice on healthy eating
                            • Figure 3: Sources used for advice on healthy eating, November 2018
                          • Scratch cooking is seen as interlinked with eating healthily
                            • Gut health is valued by many
                              • Figure 4: Attitudes towards healthy eating, November 2018
                            • Five-a-day is the most widely adopted healthy eating behaviour
                              • Figure 5: Uptake of selected healthy eating behaviours, November 2018
                            • Calorie-controlled diet is the most widely associated with weight management
                              • Figure 6: Qualities associated with diets – Correspondence analysis, November 2018
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                              • Focus on gut health should help to boost people’s nutritional intake
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • In-store guidance is key to encouraging healthy eating
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • More straightforward and tangible messages needed for public health campaigns
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                • 65% of UK adults are overweight or obese
                                                  • Soft Drinks Sugar Levy comes into effect
                                                    • Majority of sweet food categories fail to meet the sugar reduction targets
                                                      • Improved disposable incomes could offer a boost to healthy eating
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • 65% of UK adults are overweight or obese
                                                          • Figure 7: Trends in body mass index (BMI), England, 1997-2017
                                                        • Severe obesity among Year 6 children at its highest ever
                                                          • Obesity the second-biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, says Cancer Research
                                                            • War on sugar continues
                                                              • UK ‘Sugar Tax’ leads to 11% reduction in soft drinks’ sugar content
                                                                • Majority of sweet food categories fail to meet the 2018 sugar reduction targets
                                                                  • Figure 8: Change in sugar content per 100g by manufacturers and retailers in selected sweet food product categories, 2016-18
                                                                • Calls grow for more decisive action to force companies to act on health
                                                                  • Consumer expectations add to the pressure on manufacturers
                                                                    • Children’s sugar consumption found to still be too high
                                                                      • New Change4Life campaign urges parents to swap to less sugary foods
                                                                        • Figure 9: Change4Life Facebook advert advocating food swap, 2018
                                                                      • Change4Life new labelling could boost brands promoted as ‘good choices’
                                                                        • Scientific studies raise doubts over artificial sweeteners’ benefits
                                                                          • ‘No compelling evidence’ that sweeteners help with weight loss
                                                                            • University study finds artificial sweeteners to be ‘toxic’ to gut microbes
                                                                              • Food industry falls short of 2017 salt reduction targets
                                                                                • EFSA rules make it difficult for some products to make a low-salt claim
                                                                                  • PHE and DHSC task food industry with 20% calorie reduction by 2024
                                                                                    • New research highlights the importance of fibre
                                                                                      • Less than a third of adults reach the five-a-day targets
                                                                                        • Government proposes crackdown on ‘junk food’ promotions
                                                                                          • Traffic light labelling gains momentum
                                                                                            • Nutritionists issue portion control guidelines to tackle overeating
                                                                                              • Improved disposable incomes could offer a boost to healthy eating
                                                                                                • Figure 10: CPI vs average weekly earnings, January 2013-October 2018
                                                                                            • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                              • L/N/R sugar claims gain ground rapidly over 2014-16
                                                                                                • High/added-protein claims continue to grow
                                                                                                • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                  • L/N/R sugar claims gain ground rapidly over 2014-18
                                                                                                    • Figure 11: Share of new product launches with slimming and minus claims in the UK food market, by claim, 2014-18
                                                                                                  • Cereal/snack/energy bars lead on L/N/R sugar launches in 2018
                                                                                                    • Protein ball brand targets the breakfast occasion
                                                                                                      • Nestlé makes five-a-day claim and features on-trend ingredients
                                                                                                        • Figure 12: Examples of cereal/snack/energy bars with multiple health claims, 2018
                                                                                                      • Yogurt, breakfast cereals and sweet spreads step up L/N/R sugar activity
                                                                                                        • Yogurt brands take various approaches to cutting sugar
                                                                                                          • Further activity in no-added-sugar non-dairy yogurts
                                                                                                            • Figure 13: Examples of L/N/R sugar yogurt launches, 2018
                                                                                                          • Activity in L/N/R sugar breakfast cereals centres mainly on no-added-sugar claims
                                                                                                            • Weetabix reformulates Weetabix Minis with reduced sugar and added Vitamin B2
                                                                                                              • Figure 14: Examples of L/N/R sugar breakfast cereals, 2018
                                                                                                            • Sweet spreads brands explore various sugar alternatives
                                                                                                              • Leading and smaller brands explore L/N/R sugar and high-protein sweet spreads
                                                                                                                • Figure 15: Examples of L/N/R sugar sweet spreads, 2018
                                                                                                              • High/added-protein claims continue to grow
                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Share of new product launches with plus claims in the UK food market, by claim, 2014-18
                                                                                                              • Snack bars lead on high-protein launches, but meat substitutes gain the most share
                                                                                                                • Figure 17: Examples of high/added-protein meat substitute products with on-trend ingredients, 2018
                                                                                                              • Further activity in pulse/legume-based pastas with protein and fibre claims
                                                                                                                • Figure 18: Examples of pulse/legume pastas with high-protein and high-fibre claims, 2018
                                                                                                              • Plant-based protein ketchup arrives in the UK
                                                                                                                • Figure 19: In the Buff Protein Ketchups, 2018
                                                                                                              • Fermented foods prove a hotbed of activity in 2018
                                                                                                                • Kefir enters the mainstream
                                                                                                                  • Figure 20: Examples of kefir products, 2018
                                                                                                                • Miso gains momentum
                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Examples of products with miso as an ingredient, 2018
                                                                                                                • Added vegetables trend continues
                                                                                                                  • Gluten-free brands launch bread products with added vegetables
                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Examples of gluten-free wraps with added vegetables, 2018
                                                                                                                  • Smaller brands launch vegetable yogurts
                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Examples of yogurts with vegetable flavours, 2018
                                                                                                                  • Turmeric remains the spice of the moment
                                                                                                                    • Savoury products
                                                                                                                      • Sweet products
                                                                                                                        • Figure 24: Examples of products with turmeric, 2018
                                                                                                                    • Start-ups and Disruptors Case Studies

                                                                                                                      • Vita Mojo
                                                                                                                        • Company overview
                                                                                                                          • Mintel analyst view
                                                                                                                            • Product information
                                                                                                                              • Media profile
                                                                                                                                • Social media metrics
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Social media metrics for Vita Mojo, February 2019
                                                                                                                                • The brand’s view
                                                                                                                                  • Looking to the future
                                                                                                                                    • Sol Fuel
                                                                                                                                      • Company overview
                                                                                                                                        • Mintel analyst view
                                                                                                                                          • Product information
                                                                                                                                            • Media profile
                                                                                                                                              • The brand’s view
                                                                                                                                                • Looking to the future
                                                                                                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                  • Six in 10 adults try to eat healthily most or all of the time
                                                                                                                                                    • Friends and family are the main source of advice on healthy eating
                                                                                                                                                      • Scratch cooking is seen as interlinked with eating healthily
                                                                                                                                                        • Gut health is valued by many
                                                                                                                                                          • Five-a-day is the most widely adopted healthy eating behaviour
                                                                                                                                                            • Calorie-controlled diet is the most widely associated with weight management
                                                                                                                                                            • Healthy Eating Intentions

                                                                                                                                                              • Six in 10 adults try to eat healthily most or all of the time
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: How often consumers try to eat healthily, 2016-18
                                                                                                                                                              • Men, ABs and higher earners are the most avid healthy eaters
                                                                                                                                                              • Sources Used for Advice on Healthy Eating

                                                                                                                                                                • Friends and family are the most commonly used source for advice
                                                                                                                                                                  • Under-25s are the most likely to take advice from friends/family
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 27: Sources used for advice on healthy eating, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                  • More people use TV shows than go to medical professionals for advice
                                                                                                                                                                    • Doctors should use television to ensure their health advice reaches a wider audience
                                                                                                                                                                      • Cookery shows can help to spread healthy eating message
                                                                                                                                                                        • Public health campaigns are underused
                                                                                                                                                                          • Harness the power of peer recommendations to spread the message
                                                                                                                                                                            • Over a third don’t use any sources for healthy eating advice
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 28: Repertoire of sources used for advice on healthy eating, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                            • In-store prompts can help to raise the visibility of healthy eating advice
                                                                                                                                                                              • Over-55s are the least likely to take advice
                                                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes towards Healthy Eating

                                                                                                                                                                                • Scratch cooking seen to be interlinked with eating healthily
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 29: Attitudes towards healthy eating, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Supermarkets can use various methods to encourage people to cook healthy meals
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Health associations around scratch cooking pose a challenge for prepared meals
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer expectations oblige manufacturers to take action
                                                                                                                                                                                        • On-pack labelling can help companies to signal their good health credentials
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Seven in 10 see gut health as essential to overall health
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer views on gut health offer opportunity to boost interest in high-fibre foods
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Public health campaigns seen as a good channel for education
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Change4Life campaign widely recognised; snacking message not
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Selected images from the Change4Life campaign
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Responses to Nutritional Labelling

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • No-added-sugar and five-a-day labels come in for particular attention
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Heat map of areas of packaging looked at when shopping for healthy snacks, December 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Many pay attention to traffic light labelling
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Uptake of Healthy Eating Behaviours

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Five-a-day is the most widely adopted healthy eating behaviour
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • National Diet and Nutrition Surveys find that many miss the five-a-day target
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: Uptake of selected healthy eating behaviours, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Recipe suggestions should help to encourage more people to eat five-a-day
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Harnessing pester power would help to boost families’ vegetable consumption
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Lidl Facebook advert for its Oaklands Fun-size vegetables range
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Price promotions help to incentivise fruit and vegetable buying
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • A quarter of adults have reduced their weekly meat intake
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Over-55s are the most likely to avoid artificial sweeteners
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • One in five under-35s use food/drink tracking apps
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Few follow NHS-recommended regimens
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Qualities Associated with Diets

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Calorie-controlled diet is the most widely seen as good for weight management…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • …but lags behind on overall health perceptions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Qualities associated with diets, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Companies should not focus solely on calories to appeal to consumers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Young men have particularly positive views of low-carb diets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Café advertising its high-protein, low-carb choices, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Clean eating is widely seen as good for you…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • …and scores well on perceptions as highly nutritious…
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • …but is also seen as expensive, particularly among the less well off
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Qualities associated with diets – Correspondence analysis, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Under-25s have the most favourable views of plant-based diets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Negative taste perceptions linger around plant-based diets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Few see plant-based diets as good for the environment
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Attitudes towards the Cost of Healthy Food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Opinions are divided on whether eating healthily is harder on a budget
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Fresh fruit and vegetables are seen as expensive by some
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Discounters and own-label seen as helping to make healthy eating more affordable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumers note food manufacturers’ actions on health
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Share of new product launches in the UK food market with an L/N/R sugar claim, by sub-category, 2014-18 (sorted by 2018)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Share of new product launches in the UK food market with a high/added-protein claim, by sub-category, 2014-18 (sorted by 2018)