Post-market food review highlights EU consumer priorities

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

A review of all new food and beverage product launches in Europe over the past year has revealed an increased focus on three top-of-the-mind consumer issues: The quest for all things natural, the need for speed, and the avoidance of allergens.

Data provided to by market researcher Mintel indicates that these three priorities have jumped into the top 10 list of product claims, joining the likes of ‘low fat’ and ‘low sugar’, which have remained popular over the past five years.

The data, from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), has tracked just under 90,000 new food and beverage product launches in 2008 and 2009 to date, highlighting the 10 most frequently used claims.

Changes in the Top Ten

The changes observed in the top ten list over the past five years are a direct response of food companies to changes in consumer priorities and purchasing habits.

Between January 2008 and June 2009, GNPD tracked a total of 88,364 new food and beverage product launches throughout Europe. The most frequent claims made on these are (in descending order):

  • No additives/preservatives (13,441 products)
  • Organic (7,781)
  • Vegetarian (5,861)
  • Microwaveable (5,525)
  • Sugar (low/no/reduced) (5,467)
  • Fat (low/no/reduced) (5,330)
  • Premium (4,755)
  • Allergen (low/no/reduced) (4,653)
  • Time/Speed (3,864)
  • Gluten-free (3,398)

This compares to 41,023 new products launched between January 2003 and June 2004.

The most popular product claims made five years ago, in descending order, were: Fat (low/no/reduced); Premium; Microwaveable; No additives/preservatives; Vitamin/mineral fortified; Vegetarian; Children (5-12); Sugar (low/no/reduced); Organic; Calorie (low/no/reduced).

Geographical priorities

Overall, Mintel’s GNPD tracked the highest number of new product launches over the past 18 months in the UK and Germany.

When it came to products claiming to contain no additives or preservatives, the UK recorded 3,465 new launches during the period, followed by Germany (2, 026), France (1,532) and Italy (1,132).

‘Organic’ was a claim most popular in Germany (2,180), followed by the UK (1,321), France (736) and Austria (573).

‘Vegetarian’ product launches were by far led by the UK (4,023), followed by Ireland (293), the Netherlands (272), and Germany (259).

‘Microwaveable’ appeared mainly in the UK (1,226), France (1,207), Germany (806) and Spain (445).

Jumping down the list to the category of ‘Low/no/reduced allergen’ claims, the UK again led with 1,039 launches. Next came Finland (532 products), Spain (521) and Germany (478).

‘Gluten-free’ claims were made mainly on products introduced in the UK (903), Spain (469), Germany (361) and the Netherlands (288).

‘Time/speed’ claims were made mostly in France (998), Italy (493), Germany (438) and Spain (394).

Source: Mintel’s GNPD​.

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