Natural foods: LFR examines market opportunities

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Marketing

A new research project is due to examine the international landscape for natural foods, with the aim of helping manufacturers understand consumer expectations and successfully market their products.

Conducted by UK-based Leatherhead Food Research (LFR), the project will provide an overview of the market for natural products across Europe and the United States. It will also gauge consumer perceptions and attitudes, and set out the issues that food marketers must consider in the sector.

LFR’s market intelligence manager Chris Brockman, who will lead the research, says the findings will provide “essential information to those companies looking at how to reformulate their products and will identify factors that will assist in the future marketing and positioning of clean label products.”

The month-long project, which is due to kick off in September, will take a three-pronged approach to the clean label sector: Market overview, consumer perceptions and industry implications.

It will include a review of available data on current and future trends within the category, as well as original consumer research and interviews with “key” ​ingredient suppliers and food manufacturers.

Three research fields

The market overview will include an analysis of drivers in the ‘natural’ field, including current retailer and manufacturer initiatives in Europe and the US. The market value will also be calculated, as well as the penetration within key product sectors and countries.

LFR’s team will also provide a regulatory update for each market, as well as a break-down of growth in different sectors, including: colours, flavours, preservatives, sweeteners, antioxidants and emulsifiers.

The second part of the project will involve consumer research to ascertain perceptions of natural products and ingredients in each of the markets examined.

This will be conducted via internet surveys with around 500 respondents from each of the key European countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy) and the US. LFR said that its industry subscribers will have the opportunity to add two closed questions to the consumer questionnaire provided they fit in with the overall research framework. Responses to these questions will remain confidential to each client.

The final part of the research project will include an analysis of the implications of the above findings on food manufacturers, in order to assist them in the future marketing and positioning of their products.

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