Monthly Archives: August 2015

Consumers really do look at nutrition facts…when they’re on the front-of-pack.


An interesting study published in “Public Health Nutrition” appears to support a move to mandatory front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition facts. The UK, US, and Australasia are all grappling with this issue which motivated researchers at the University of Otago, New Zealand to study the impact of existing nutrition labels. They asked study participants to relate the effect that a “percentage of daily intake” label and a hybrid “traffic light” label would have on their intention to buy branded cereal products. The findings are enlightening to food and beverage marketers.

1. Purchase Intention: Study participants did notice and read the FOP nutrition labels, and it did significantly increase their intention to purchase a product.

2. FOP Label Content: The FOP label content did not influence the purchase intention to any significant degree, in that the nutritional values of the product were not really evaluated by the study participants. They were simply influenced by the presence of the information.

3. The Disconnect: One of the biggest arguments in favor of FOP labels is that it would help consumers learn what is in the food they are consuming and that they will make healthier choices if the information is more readily visible at the shelf level. The study participants overwhelming ignored the nutritional values in choosing one study product over the other, and instead were influenced most the availability of information.

This study suggests that there may be a marketing advantage to FOP labels. However, it also strongly suggests the need for more consumer education on understanding nutrition labels and making healthier food choices.

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American consumers food habits are changing…here are the trends to watch.


American consumers, households, eating, and food shopping habits are changing. According to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), food marketers may be behind the curve and need to play catch-up. Here are ten trends that FMI has identified in its 2015 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report that may be game changers for food and beverage brands.

1 – LIVING, AND EATING, ALONE: The portion of Americans living alone has almost tripled since 1960, and the 34 million adults living alone now account for more than one quarter of all U.S. households, says the FMI. So more single portions, and fast, fresh, options are a must. Meanwhile, in 2014, 46% of all adult eating occasions took place while the person was alone, says the FMI (quoting Hartman Group data).

2 – ADULTS-ONLY: Meanwhile, the number of Americans living in ‘multi-generational households’ (comprising at least two adult generations. eg. parents and grown-up kids; boomers and elderly parents) has more than doubled since 1980, says the FMI, citing Pew Research Center data.

3 – CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS: In 1960, the vast majority of the U.S. population that was ‘foreign born’ came from Europe (75%), Canada (10%), Latin America (9%), Asia (5%) and somewhere else (1%). In 2010, Europe accounted for just 12%, Canada 2%, Latin America 53%, Asia 28%, and somewhere else 5%, says the FMI (citing U.S. Census Bureau data): “Latino and Asian migrants account for most of today’s foreign-born population, whereas previously the vast majority came from Europe or Canada.”

4 – HELLO BOYS: Women account for 47% of the workforce today vs 38% in 1970 (Bureau of Labor Statistics data). And men, in turn, are assuming a far more significant role in cooking and food shopping, says the FMI. In 2008, 42% of men said they had some involvement in cooking each day vs 29% in 1975. Meanwhile, 73% of men report being responsible for at least half of their household’s shopping, says the FMI, noting that growing numbers of men now describe themselves as ‘primary shoppers’, even in households where women also claim this role. Indeed, there are more adults claiming to be primary shoppers (203 million) than there are households (123 million), notes the FMI.

5 – FOOD ALLERGIES: 12% of households contain people with self-reported food allergies or sensitivities (formally diagnosed or otherwise. Source: 2015 FMI national consumer survey, 2,265 American shoppers).

6 – WANING LOYALTY: Back in 2011, just 2% of consumers said they had no ‘primary grocery store’ (defined as ‘the store at which I spend the most money on groceries’). In 2015, this figure rose to 9%.

7 – MILLENNIALS: 12% of Millennials – vs 5% of Boomers – shopped online for groceries in the past 30 days (source: 2015 FMI national consumer survey, 2,265 American shoppers). Millennials are also most likely to skip breakfast and most likely to consume vegetarian food.

8 – SNACKING… CONTINUOUSLY: Snacks now comprise 50% of all eating occasions, claims the FMI (citing Hartman Group data), with 90% of U.S. consumers snacking multiple times a day, 61% claiming to be actively seeking healthier snacks, and 48% replacing meals with snacks at least 3-4 times a week.

9 – KEEPING IT SIMPLE: There was a sharp rise in the percentage of Americans claiming to look for foods with the shortest list of ingredients; foods that are locally grown or produced; foods that contain only ingredients that I recognize; and foods that are ‘minimally processed’ between 2007 and 2013, says the FMI, citing Hartman Group data.

10 – GO VEGGIE!: 7% of American households contain [self-reported] vegetarians, vegans, or vegetarians and vegans (source: 2015 FMI national consumer survey, 2,265 American shoppers).

Find out more about the FMI report HERE.

© 2015 – William Reed Business Media SAS – All rights reserved.

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