Understanding consumers could improve your chances of success

Food manufacturers could unlock novel opportunities in today’s evolving food and beverage market by determining the motivations, needs, concerns and behaviours of specific consumer groups

Healthier food is on the minds and shopping lists of millions of people all over the world. These consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the need for a wholesome diet; but, when it comes to understanding how to reach those dietary goals, there is no 'one-size-fits-all' solution.

Perceptions differ regarding health benefits, convenience and value for money, which means that the food industry must consider a variety of different approached to developing ingredients and foods that meet the needs of today’s lifestyles.

DuPont Nutrition & Health offers a portfolio of ingredients that can be used to make food healthier — from probiotic cultures to high-quality soy proteins and ingredients in cooking oil — to support healthy bones, cardiovascular health, digestive system, immune and oral health, as well as enhanced child and sports nutrition and weight management. Furthermore, based on the concept that healthier food is only as good as the science behind it, DuPont is involved with ongoing research and testing to reinforce the health benefits of their ingredients.

For example, insights from a recent multi-country consumer research survey indicate that food manufacturers can make a bigger impact on purchasing decisions if they target their product development towards the concerns, motivators and behaviour of specific types of consumer.

Examining factors such as health concerns, lifestyle choices, brand influences, demographics and geographic location, the findings paint a picture of six definable consumer segments, based on a cross-section of their needs and interests. Some of the top health concerns of each group, what they look for on product labels and whether they are willing to pay more for foods with health benefits are also described.

The health helpers (9%) want to know exactly what they can eat to stay healthy. Typically, they’re more senior consumers who are focused on keeping their health issues (fatigue, cardiovascular and muscle tone) in check. A priority is the ability to recognise the ingredients within an end product.

The weight strugglers (12%) are mainly overweight or obese individuals who want to eat healthily but need some help. Beyond weight management, they also want to be able to stop feeling guilty about what they eat. Free from and recognisable ingredients are key concerns.

The health wise (28%) learn about healthy foods and want to know what they can eat to feel amazing and perform well. These consumers are the nutritional savants who believe healthy eating is essential for a long and active life. Aiming to conquer fatigue, heart disease and stress, they put food labels under a lot of scrutiny. Vegetarianism, free from and fewer, well known, ingredients are major drivers.

The taste driven (19%) are younger, emotional eaters who put taste first and consider nutrition only as an afterthought. They’re busy, often stressed and simply want food that’s convenient and tastes good. They’re not as fussy when it comes to clean and green issues and scored below the average percentages on most metrics (vegetarian, free from, fewer and/or recognisable ingredients).

The good life lovers (9%) are consumers who want to eat better but primarily buy foods because they taste good. They claim to like to eat healthily, but often put their palate first. Free from issues and recognizable ingredients were noted as being important.

Finally, the just foodies (23%) are detached diners who just want convenient and familiar food that can get them through the day. Their mantra is basic: 'I eat because I have to, that’s about it.' They look for easy, cost-effective options and, like the taste driven participants, scored below average on the clean and green markers.

Nutrition, taste and convenience

Based on these observations, it can be concluded that nutrition is a primary driver of the shopping patterns of only three of these segments. For the others, nutrition is secondary to taste and convenience. Only the health wise are apparently willing to give up both taste and convenience for health, whereas the good life lovers would pay more for foods with health benefits. Tiredness and heart disease were common concern for all those surveyed, with stress being listed by everyone apart from the health helpers and weight strugglers.

Commenting on the survey, Dr Greg Paul, Global Director, Consumer Insights, DuPont Nutrition & Health, comments: 'It’s more than just an interesting read. When launching new food products on the market, understanding consumer lifestyles and their behaviour could make the essential difference between failure or success. If you tailor new food products to consumer purchasing behaviour, you’re more likely to succeed in this dynamic and competitive market.'

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