Are unrecognisable ingredients deterring consumers? Survey

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
Pic: GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

Related tags Clean label

A new survey investigating the preference of shoppers in the UK and US suggests that many food and drink products do not offer the clear labelling that consumers want.

The clean label trend, whereby consumers demand natural food products without artificial ingredients, shows no sign of abating.

A new survey of 1,000 adults in the UK and US conducted this month has revealed that ingredients lists on both side of the pond are still not clear enough.

According to Ingredient Communications’, which commissioned SurveyGoo to conduct the survey, unrecognisable ingredients continue to deter consumers. Half of the respondents said they are ‘more likely’ to buy a product if they can recognise all ingredients listed on the label.

Yet food and beverage manufacturers appear to be lagging in meeting this demand, with just 19% of consumers saying they always recognise all ingredients on-pack.

When consumers do recognise all ingredients, 36% said they are happy to pay a higher price for the product. Conversely, more than one-third of respondents said they were less likely to buy a product made with at least one ingredient they do not recognise.

Aligning with the clean label trend, a majority of respondents said they preferred natural ingredients over artificial additives. Indeed, 81% said they considered the label ‘made with natural ingredients’ to be either ‘appealing’ or ‘quite appealing’. Seventy-eight percent felt the same about the label claim ‘free from artificial ingredients’.

According to Richard Clarke, managing director of Ingredient Communications, the survey raises questions about how successfully industry is responding to consumer preference.

“Ingredients companies have taken big steps forward to optimise their portfolios to include clean label ingredients that can be declared on-pack in clear language that most consumers will recognise,” ​he said.

“Manufacturers of finished products should consider formulating – or reformulating – their products to include these ingredients, or they risk being left behind.”

FoodNavigator is hosting an upcoming webinar on clean label challenges, innovations and solutions on 22 October 2020. Broadcast at 3pm CET / 2pm BST, you can register for this free one-hour event here​.


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