The BENEO-commissioned study has shown the health-focused trend is most prominent among the younger generation with 54% of 18-24s willing to spend more on healthy foods
Research commissioned by BENEO has revealed that health is now considered so important that almost every second respondent in Europe is prepared to pay a premium for food and drink products that provide a health benefit. This trend is most prominent amongst the younger generation with 54% of those aged 18-24 willing to spend more on healthy foods. With health driving purchase decisions, a big opportunity exists for manufacturers to tap into this trend by developing great tasting products with added nutritional credentials.
The survey commissioned through FMCG Gurus was carried out on 3,863 European consumers from across the UK, France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands and provides key insights into the current health trends shaping shopper behaviour.
Topping the list of Europe's consumer health concerns was staying fit and active (53%), closely followed by maintaining, or losing weight (51%), highlighting that the rising health and fitness trends are now well and truly embedded in the minds of consumers.
Myriam Snaet, Head of Market Intelligence and Consumer Insights at BENEO commented: "The results of our latest consumer survey clearly show that the growing interest in a healthy lifestyle is impacting purchase decision, with consumers now willing to pay more for products that support these goals."
There appears to have been a shift in the consumer perception of carbohydrates
Driven by the aim to manage weight and to follow heathy nutrition, 80% of European consumers are now trying to limit or cut down on sugar. Meanwhile, there also appears to have been a shift in the consumer perception of carbohydrates, with almost half believing that slow-releasing carbohydrates are better for them and thinking that foods or beverages that trigger a lower blood glucose rise are preferable. So, the quality of carbohydrates becomes increasingly important to consumers.
In addition, the results showed that digestive health is a big concern for many of the European consumers surveyed, with 4 in 5 considering it to be important or very important to them. The figures also highlighted that 1 in 3 suffer from digestive problems. In line with this, 60% of UK consumers are trying to eat as much fibre as possible, making digestive health an even bigger area of focus for them than protein.
The results also highlighted the rising number of consumers in Europe choosing to follow a flexitarian diet with 1 in 5 buying meat alternatives in the past three months. Interestingly, the flexitarian diet and reducing meat consumption were shown to be particularly popular amongst older consumers, with younger consumers increasingly favouring vegetarian or vegan diets.
Snaet explained that these trends present a significant opportunity for manufacturers to invest in the right functional ingredients to help deliver the products that consumers want. A versatile portfolio of plant-based functional ingredients from nature seems to be the solution. BENEO says this is what it has.