However, new criteria are becoming more important in purchasing decisions. In both food and the sports nutrition markets, there are growing demands for products that combine functional benefits with a clean label, organic, natural or wholesome positioning.
One company responding to this growing market need is Arla Foods Ingredients, which recently conducted a survey of European consumers’ perceptions of natural and organic products.
“Healthy” and “natural” were the two most important characteristics for consumers of food products and there was a powerful association with organic status and health and naturality. A perception of healthiness was the primary reason for consumers to choose organic products, with 53% of surveyed consumers considering it more nutritious than non-organic versions.
More than four in 10 (43%) said naturalness was an important factor when purchasing RTD high-protein beverages and 73% said they would buy more organic dairy products, if they were more widely available. This is according to Lindberg International’s 2019 publication, ‘Consumer study on perception of organic food products and organic purchasing habits.’
Demand for clean label dairy is not confined to western markets. In China, for example, Lindberg International, Organic Foods – Customer Insights China, 2019 shows “made with real ingredients” and “no artificial flavor/colors” are the most important claims for consumers.
Meanwhile, yogurt sales are growing faster in China than anywhere else in the world, with ambient yogurt the fastest growing segment in the country’s liquid dairy market. Mintel’s report from 2019, Yogurt – China, shows the category, which accounted for almost 30% of China’s entire yogurt market in 2019, has seen a significantly higher growth rate than either chilled yogurts or liquid milks.
Arla Foods Ingredients recently responded to both these needs by launching a clean label ambient stirred yogurt concept containing five all-natural ingredients. It uses Nutrilac YO-4575, a 100% natural whey protein, to give unrefrigerated yogurts a premium positioning with all-natural ingredients.
Like all of Arla Foods Ingredients whey products, it is sourced from the milk of grass-fed cows in the EU (according to EU Regulation (EC) 1829/2003 on GM food and feed and EU Regulation (EC) 1830/2003).