Compared to the rest of Europe, Germans attach particular importance to naturalness when buying food. This is a key finding from studies carried out over the past two years by Symrise. The flavor house surveyed around 15,000 consumers ages 16 to 70 from 12 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America. “Only taste and consumer friendliness are more important to German citizens than naturalness,” the company reports. Consumers in France and the UK also pay particular attention to these two factors, followed by value for money and naturalness. In the future, the demand for natural foods could increase, particularly in China.
“Many consumers today want to buy the most natural food possible. At Symrise, we respond to this preference with our code of nature platform. This means that we value natural ingredients, gentle processing and authentic taste in our products,” says Stefanie Hartwig, Global Marketing Engagement Manager at Symrise.
The importance of naturalness differs greatly from country to country, underscores Symrise’s research. At the same time, the researchers also identified overarching common aspects. They found that the explicit use of the word “natural” has a great influence on the perception and acceptance of a product or its ingredients.
In addition, consumers around the world reject ingredients with scientific-sounding names because they do not perceive them as natural, Symrise reports. In order for the consumer to understand and trust the content of the label, it needs concrete and transparent information. Another finding was that consumers prefer familiar methods of food preparation. Artificial sweeteners are also considered unhealthy and too sweet.
According to Innova Market Insights, two-thirds of global consumers are looking for products with simple ingredients. Tying into the market researchers predicted 2020 trend of the “Plant-based revolution” is the surging consumer demand for natural products that deliver on clean label claims.
Globally, clean label remains a key and running theme. Innova Market Insights notes 13 percent CAGR in global food and beverage launches with a clean label offering (2013-2017). In 2018, 28 percent of all new launches featured such claims.
Germans look for “understandable” ingredients
Especially in Europe, consumers are very interested in the ingredients of food. They thoroughly read long lists of ingredients to ensure that they can understand them. In general, respondents attach importance to ingredients they know. On the other hand, they mostly reject unfamiliar ingredients. This also applies to very general disclosures such as the ones on vegetables. Concrete content information significantly improves acceptance. The disclosure of food additives in the form of “E-numbers,” as practiced in the EU, is also poorly received by consumers, especially in Germany.
In Asia, the proportion of consumers interested in natural foods varies relatively widely. While almost half of Japanese consumers prefer natural raw materials, in Thailand the proportion is about a third and in China about a quarter. However, China holds the greatest future potential. There are particularly good prospects in the yogurt drink and flavored water categories, if manufacturers simultaneously consider the need for health and safety.
A previous global study on consumer perceptions of “naturalness” by Symrise has similarly revealed that “no additives,” “health attributes” and “contains real ingredients” are among the top drivers of naturalness perceptions among consumers in the Asia-Pacific region. Among all countries surveyed (except Thailand), the additives-free claim ranked the number one concern of label-conscious consumers.
Industry is notably catching on. In October, German-based food stabilizer supplier Hydrosol announced that it will focus on free-from solutions at this year’s Food Ingredients Europe (FiE). The company will present its new concepts for melted cheese preparations and plant-based alternatives to dairy, deli and meat products. Declaration-friendly preservatives for meat products are also a category the company will be addressing.
“Natural foods offer an enormous growth market with great opportunities for manufacturers. The challenge is to ensure naturalness throughout the value chain. We focus on transparency and traceability. With clear guidelines, we ensure that our suppliers meet our requirements for naturalness,” concludes Mathias vom Weg, Senior Vice President of Global Purchasing Flavor at Symrise.
Find quality food ingredients from verified suppliers on OKCHEM (Click to inquire)
Related news in food industry:
What’s new in natural sweeteners?
Givaudan opens $30m extension to support
growth ambitions in China
General Mills meets 20% salt reduction
2020 food trends: what changes will the
food industry see in the new year?
Stevia, changing the history of sugar in
food and beverage
Cocoa price makes significant gains
Sodium Carbonate Market Price in China
Showing a Downward Trend
Comax Flavors releases 2020 Flavor Trends
spotlighting nostalgic snacking and multicultural flavors
DSM to acquire Dutch cheese cultures
Lycored announces tomato-based anti-ageing
Briefing on the China’s Wheat Gluten
export in 2014-2018
Innova reports on sugar reduction