GNT reveals consumer preferences

12 Oct 2015

Tainted cooking oil in Asia, the horsemeat scandal in Europe or artificial colours that are under suspicion of causing hyperactivity in children – the flow of negative headlines relating to the food industry unsettles many people all over the world and leads them to scrutinise more closely what they put on their plate, says colourings […]

GNT reveals consumer preferences

Consumer-SurveyTainted cooking oil in Asia, the horsemeat scandal in Europe or artificial colours that are under suspicion of causing hyperactivity in children – the flow of negative headlines relating to the food industry unsettles many people all over the world and leads them to scrutinise more closely what they put on their plate, says colourings company GNT. In fact, certain ingredients highly affect the purchase decision of many consumers, the company goes on, noting that, for a large number of people all around the world additives especially are of concern. At the top of their black list are preservatives as well as artificial colourants and sweeteners, with 60% of all consumers worldwide avoiding these ingredients when choosing food and drink products, GNT continues.

This is the result of a recent global consumer study conducted by market research institute TNS on behalf of the GNT Group.

According to the TNS data, additives influence consumers most strongly when shopping for groceries. A low fat content is important for 53% of consumers, whereas 51% look out for products with low sugar. Other product characteristics like organic product qualities or fair trade are an issue for only 46 and 38% respectively. “The survey clearly shows that consumers worldwide explicitly examine the ingredients of food and beverages and factor them into their purchase decision”, said Dr. Hendrik Hoeck, Managing Director of GNT Group. “Food manufacturers should take this into account when developing products.”

Apart from these general findings, the GNT study also takes a closer look at different product categories. It demonstrates that the role ingredients play in the evaluation of food and beverages is dependent on the particular product. Four categories have received special attention: soft drinks, sweets, yoghurt and ice cream. The results reveal: yoghurt is the food category perceived as most natural. Two thirds of all respondents refuse additives in yoghurts and wish for it to only contain natural ingredients. If these needs are not met, consumer trust can be affected.

However, with sweets and soft drinks, consumers assume – but don’t approve of – the use of artificial ingredients more often: more than half of the respondents think that these products usually contain synthetic additives. Nevertheless, more than one person in three would buy sweets, lemonade, ice cream and the like more frequently if they were made with natural ingredients only. “Certain products, like yoghurt, have to meet particularly high requirements today. For these products, natural ingredients like Colouring Foods – made exclusively from fruit, vegetables and edible plants by using gentle physical methods – are the ideal solution. At the same time, natural ingredients can offer true advantages in product categories that are generally perceived as less natural: they help manufacturers to stand out and create an additional incentive for today’s increasingly nutrition-conscious consumers”, said Hoeck.

The GNT Group commissioned market research institute TNS to conduct a comprehensive global consumer study using a two-step method to ask 5,000 consumers in ten different countries worldwide – Brazil, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Poland, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the USA – about their nutritional and purchasing behaviour.