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New survey: healthier food set for strong sales growth

A new study has suggested that UK consumers’ attitude to healthier food will lead to strong growth in sales in the sector.


New survey: healthier food set for strong sales growth

A new study has suggested that UK consumers’ attitude to healthier food will lead to strong growth in sales in the sector.

According to Nielsen’s Global Health and Wellness Survey, which polled more than 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries, sugar, salt and artificial additives are the biggest health factors impacting the food products Britons buy.  

When asked to rate how important various health attributes are in affecting the foods and products they purchase, 31% of UK respondents cited ‘low or sugar free’ as very important followed by ‘low salt/sodium’, 29%, ‘no artificial flavours/colours’, 28%, and ‘natural flavours’, also 28%.  

Nielsen’s UK head of business and retailer insight Mike Watkins said: “Britons regard sugar, salt, artificial additives, cholesterol and fat as the biggest health-related evils impacting which products they buy. Conversely, natural flavours, being made from fruit or veg, whole grain, fibre and protein are the most important ingredients to encourage purchasing.”

However, the survey found that UK consumers are much less likely than Europeans to let health attributes of food products affect what they buy. For instance, food being free from genetically-modified organisms was found to be a very important factor to 47% of Europeans in their buying decisions which was more than twice the number of Britons at 22%.

Among the 27 food health attributes covered in the survey, UK consumers were shown to be most willing to pay a premium price for products that are ‘all natural’, ‘gluten-free’ or organic. However, they are much less likely to pay a premium for healthy attributes in foods than Europeans as a whole.

Nielsen said the importance attached to “good-for-you” products, meant that these were the most strongly positioned for growth in the future. It added that the survey showed that from a list of 25 food products, Britons were most likely to buy more fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, seafood, and yogurt in the next six months.

Salty snacks were found to be the most likely to see a decline in purchasing followed by chocolate, biscuits and cakes, crackers, pies, sugar sweets, ice cream and ready to eat and frozen meals.  

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