The study, called FATitudes, confirms that consumers track what enters their bodies by reading packaged food labels, with the types of fats and oils being a strong purchase consideration factor.
FATitudes is a research conducted by Cargill every year to learn more about the awareness, perceptions and behavior of consumers around fats and oils found in packaged foods, and to help inform the future of food innovation. In an expanded survey this year, around 6,600 primary household food buyers were surveyed in 12 countries including France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom.
The study revealed that consumers in developing countries reported higher levels of fat and oil monitoring (78%) compared to developed countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom (55%), with Chinese consumers paying the most attention (89%) and German consumers (48%) monitor the fewest. Cargill places this on the issue of greater food security in countries like China.
Other key findings from this study include the majority of global consumers who report the amount of fat (70%) and type of oil (67%) are important factors when deciding which packaged food to buy.
For consumers in the UK, the amount of fat (62%) is more important in purchasing decisions than the type of oil (52%). Only about a third of French consumers (35%) say they pay attention to the amount or type of oil used in restaurants.
“This type of research is important because it gives Cargill and our customers directions for our innovation efforts,”Said Nese Tagma, managing director of strategy and innovation for Cargill’s global vegetable oil business. “Because consumers’ attitudes to fats and oils have changed in the last few years, we know they are interested in consuming healthy amounts of oil.”
Olive oil, meanwhile, tops the list in every country for the impact of purchasing and health perceptions on packaged food, followed by fish and avocado oil. The majority of global consumers, 93%, know omega-3, which is an important nutrient with many health benefits that some consumers cannot consume through their typical food. In most countries, organic certification on labels has more impact on purchasing decisions than non-GMO verification
“Food is increasingly personalized; consumers base their buying decisions on certain ingredients. At the same time, the public encourages food companies to develop more choices for health-conscious consumers. Using consumer insights helps us innovate by balancing people’s pressures with preferences individuals to create products that are healthy, sustainable and cost-effective, “Said Florian Schattenmann, CTO and vice president of Innovation and R&D, Cargill.
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