More than three-quarters of European consumers want foods without chemical additives and most say they are willing to pay more for additive-free foods, according to a new survey carried out on behalf of Kampffmeyer Food Innovation.
The company commissioned German research firm e-Research24 to examine consumer attitudes within eight European countries, and found that 72% of consumers said they would pay more for foods they perceived as natural. Meanwhile, 77% said they wanted additive-free foods, and 74% said they perceived natural foods as healthier.
“This study draws a clear picture of the changing dietary habits and nutrition-consciousness of consumers across Europe,” said managing director of Kampffmeyer Food Innovation Michael Gusko.
“It’s a very positive sign for food manufacturers that consumers appreciate quality and are thus willing to pay more for high grade natural foods.”
In particular, the survey found that consumers’ perception of ‘naturalness’ was often linked to processes and ingredients that could be found in their own household.
For example, ingredients such as wheat flour, yeast, cream and sugar were generally perceived as natural, and 70% of respondents said drying pasta was a natural process. However, using the same drying process to produce milk powder was widely perceived as unnatural.
In terms of willingness to pay more for natural foods, one in three consumers was willing to pay about 10% more for natural food products like baked goods and sauces, while 17% of respondents said they would pay about a third more for natural baby food.
Gusko added that for Kampffmeyer, it was beneficial to have explored regional preferences in the survey, so the company can help food manufacturers to target new products more effectively.
The survey involved 4,000 home owners in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK and the Netherlands, with 500 participants from each country. The company said that the full results will be available free of charge from next month via its website .