The survey conducted among 2,000 UK consumers showed that almost eight out of 10 believed that fruit and vegetables provided equal health benefits to supplements aimed at helping weight loss or boosting mental, gut, heart, or bone health.
“The degree of mistrust consumers have regarding health foods was beyond what I imagined,” Thomas Delaney, an analyst from Canadean, told Food Navigator.
According to Canadean, manufacturers have to face a better-educated and more selective consumer, looking for clean labels and traceable sources.
The survey found that 27% of consumers thought health claims on functional foods and drinks were often exaggerated.
“There are many contributing factors to gaining consumers’ trust, but brand awareness and packaging are among the most important,” said Delaney.
“It is a manufacturer’s chance to deliver nutritional facts, ingredients and statements regarding ethical awareness and traceability - all of which the modern consumer pays attention to,” he added.
Would time ease the pain?
The results were similar across all age groups and were not dependent on the kind of supplementation.
“ As some health foods are longstanding staples in our supermarkets (i.e. Yakult for improved digestion) I assumed that respondents would have varying level of trust in line with the chronological order of product development. However, this was not the case, ” said Delaney.
“Consumers can struggle to see products with a long list of synthetic ingredients as offering convincing health benefits, as they fear that those products may involve ‘bad’ chemical ingredients which counteract the positive effects,” he added.
Back to the roots
Canadean expected the most recent juices from Innocent, ‘ Easy Greens’ and ‘ Skip the Beet’, vegetable and fruit blends, to be well received by consumers with a ‘back-to-the-roots' approach to food and drinks.
“These juices will be an alternative to fortified drink products, such as Vitamin Water, as they not only obtain their nutritional benefits ‘naturally’ from fruits and vegetables, but also come wrapped up in Innocent’s attractive branding and packaging,” said Delaney.