Consumers believe ‘free-from’ foods are more natural

Interesting new research from Mintel USA reveals that 84% of American free-from consumers buy free-from foods because they are seeking out more natural or less processed foods.

The American research says that 43% of consumers agree that free-from foods are healthier than foods without a free-from claim, while another three in five believe the fewer ingredients a product has, the healthier it is (59%). This has implications for food development and food packaging.

Among the top claims free-from consumers deem most important are trans fat-free (78%) and preservative-free (71%). GMO-free claims are also important to free-from consumers, with 35% ranking it as one of their top three most important claims.

Another popular claim for consumers is sodium-free (57%), with 40% listing it as one of their three most important claims.

“There is strong consumer interest in such free-from foods, especially trans fat-free, no doubt owing to widespread concern about obesity in the US and its related health consequences. Health issues appear to be top of mind among US consumers when seeking products bearing a free-from claim, including those related to heart health and allergies,” said Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel.

Pelican Communication’s Michael Bennett added: “The growing interest in free from is a trend that is likely to be repeated here in the UK as we too face our own obesity epidemic. This combined with healthy eating TV programmes such as Jamie’s Super Foods on Channel 4 may help drive category growth.”

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