As consumers continue to seek healthier options, more than half of the current R&D effort is devoted to reformulating existing products.

Improved nutrition continues to drive preference in purchasing behaviors: Ingredion

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Dive Brief:

  • According to Ingredion’s 2024 consumer food preference trend report, three-quarters of consumers are more deliberate in assessing food and beverage products to improve their nutrition. These consumers prioritize clean labels, natural ingredients, lower prices, clear labels, digestive health benefits, and zero added sugar when making purchases.
  • The most dramatic increase reported in this year’s study was that consumers are checking ingredient labels — up 43% from last year —  and nutrition labels — up 36% from last year — at a more frequent rate.
  • The increased importance of clean-label ingredients has forced manufacturers to rethink how they produce food products. Reformulation of existing products are accounting for 55% of current R&D efforts – globally and across all markets —  with three-quarters of them targeting cleaner labels and taste enhancement in their reformulations.

Dive Insight:

Though consumers have been strapped for cash during this time of inflated food prices, many are not willing to cheap out on healthy food options. 

While there are some discrepancies from region to region, it is clear that despite high food costs, factors such as ingredients and nutritional benefits are growing in both global and regional importance. 

Brand loyalty also remained a major influence on product selection, the report said, but several other considerations now have more of an impact as consumers peruse food and beverage choices. 

Seventy-eight percent of consumers said they would pay more for products listed as all-natural, and an even further, 56% would be willing to pay 10-30% more and 33% are willing to spend 20-30% more for all-natural products. 

The report also indicated that younger consumers, those aged 18-34, and/or those with children, will pay more for added nutritional benefits.

The lure of “clean ingredients” show “no sign of slowing down,” the report said. 

Recent data has echoed Ingredion’s findings — with the Business Research Company finding that consumers are seeking better-for-you options is expected to drive the market for food ingredients from 2024 to 2028,

As consumers up-the-ante in their expectations for food products, some companies have responded by reformulating age-old products like salt and sugar. 

Sweegen, for example, is the latest company to develop a sweet protein technology that creates a sugar-like experience in food products. 

Last month, Ingredients giant Kerry announced the launch of Tastesense Salt, an ingredient that does not add sodium but retains a salty taste, for snack formulators to use on products like potato chips.

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