Fintan McConnell, Product Manager, discusses the findings of Bord Bia’s Dietary Lifestyle Report
Consumers have become increasingly focused in seeking food products that are more natural and that have a shorter ingredient list. That’s according to a Bord Bia funded report released in March of this year (2021) that examined the dietary lifestyles of over 18,000 people across 9 countries. The Dietary Lifestyle Report uncovered that there are key influences that are linked with dietary lifestyle. These are driven by five macro themes, (balance underpins all five of them);
- Health – An increased focus on physical health as well as mental health.
- Back to basics – Shorter ingredients lists and food products that are more natural.
- The environment – The carbon footprint of a product, its use of plastics, if the product contains meat or has dairy then the animal’s welfare is important and finally is it a locally made product or does it have provenance?
- COVID-19 – Physical health concerns, immunity boosting food.
- Identity – Opening up of mindsets in how we associate with food, increased inclusivity.
The key findings
The report’s findings are particularly interesting for food producers, when surveyed 24% of all respondents agreed with the statement:
“I seek out food and drink with immune boosting benefits”.
Though significant that close to a quarter of all respondents agreed with the statement, the report found that
“with the exception of Italy, European markets do not match the desire for food with added benefits to the same degree as we record in the US and particularly China.”
It may appear that there is less of an appetite in Europe for food that has health benefits, however that is not strictly true. The report also points out that, 37% of all respondents agree with the statement,
“Where possible I always look for the most natural products I can buy” and 28% agreed with the statement “I prefer to choose food and drink products with shorter ingredients lists”.
Staying relevant to consumers
For food producers this means that to stay relevant to consumers they should look to reformulate or be wary of launching new products that have complex ingredients. Artificial additives such as sweeteners, colourings, flavourings, and preservatives are particularly under the spotlight and could result in a drop in sales. Fortunately, there are increasingly more natural alternatives available that can replace many artificial additives. Some of these ingredients even have beneficial attributes, for example chicory root syrup (also known as inulin) can be used to replace artificial sweeteners or sugar. It is up to 60% as sweet as sugar and has only half the calories, in addition it has gut healthy prebiotic fibre.
Require assistance with developing a new product or reformulating an existing range?
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