Consumers choose indulgence over health - but food firms think the opposite

By Anna Bonar contact

- Last updated on GMT

'The health trend often comes in the form of fads which are only temporary, whereas consumers will always demand indulgence and luxury,' said Joanne Hardman from Canadean.
'The health trend often comes in the form of fads which are only temporary, whereas consumers will always demand indulgence and luxury,' said Joanne Hardman from Canadean.

Related tags: Nutrition

Manufacturers think health is most important for consumers but sales data show they actually look for indulgence more often, according to a report from Canadean.

The market research organisation says its survey of some 100 managers from the FMCG industry found that 79% of executives thought health would be important for consumers while choosing products over the next three years, whereas only 63% agreed indulgence would be important.

Meanwhile Canadean’s consumer data shows demand for indulgence is stronger than any other trend. In 2012 consumers spent $600,167m (€481,714m) on indulgent and luxurious products, compared to only $323,694m (€259,807m) on healthy options.

“Although we are seeing a rise in the health trend and consumers are becoming more aware of certain health issues, the desire for luxury and to treat oneself often prevails. In times of economic uncertainty, as well as pressures from work, many consumers often feel the need to reward themselves and indulge in a moment of me-time,” ​said Joanne Hardman an analyst from Canadean.

‘Adding enjoyment to healthy eating’

Hardman said this trend could become even more apparent in the coming years.

“The health trend often comes in the form of fads which are only temporary, whereas consumers will always demand indulgence and luxury,” ​she said.

“Where health is concerned, natural products will be more important to the industry, including exotic fruit and vegetables, as consumers look to experiment with new flavours and add enjoyment to healthy eating,” ​Hardman added.

Can health be off-putting?

While consumers were expected to spend more money on both indulgent and healthy foods in the future, Hardman thought companies should try to tap into consumers' real motivations on-pack.

“Products with an aim to be indulgent should not prioritise packaging around a health angle as consumers can be put off by this when looking for a sugary treat,” ​said Hardman.

“If manufacturers are looking to target the health conscious consumer, it would be better to extend their current portfolio with a healthy option, rather than adapt current products,” ​she added.

 

 

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