Antje Sardo, Senior Research Analyst at GutCheck, hosted a webinar last week to share some key learnings and trends uncovered from our recent study on ‘better-for-you’ (BFY) foods. The webinar garnered quite a bit of interest from market research professionals and decisionmakers throughout the food and beverage industry. We shared many valuable insights from the study and attendees expressed a lot of positive feedback, so we wanted to give you a quick recap if you couldn’t follow along with us live.
Consumers are Craving Healthier Options
Within the larger food and beverage (F&B) retail industry, BFY foods have gained a lot of traction in recent years. In its most basic description, BFY is a sub-category of foods and beverages generally considered to be healthier than other available options. These products are seeing a consistent growth rate of approximately 5 percent year-over-year, compared to less than 2 percent growth in the overall F&B market. Shoppers want healthier choices, and retailers are evolving to meet those demands. Below are a few interesting points we took away.
- Consumers pay just as much attention to nutritional information when purchasing a product as they do to the price.
- While health considerations have increased as of late, taste is still the most important priority.
- Millennials are the generation most interested in BFY products, though pricing is still an important concern for them.
- The top five most important BFY product claims in the minds of consumers include:
- Low/no sugar
- No artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, or fillers
Clean Labels Behind the Curve
Clean label foods – a subset under the broader BFY umbrella – are those that contain natural, familiar, simple ingredients that are easy to pronounce and understand. Though BFY claims are becoming more and more popular, clean label hasn’t caught on quite as easily. Nearly 60% of consumers we surveyed aren’t even affected by clean label claims. This is because they have either never heard of clean label, have heard of it but don’t know what it means, or simply aren’t interested.
Here’s a few things we did note about clean label shoppers.
- They are more focused on health and are likely to be on a diet or have certain dietary restrictions.
- They are more likely to be Millennials.
- They are more likely to shop online, at specialty/health stores, and at club stores (like Costco).
How Has COVID-19 Impacted These Trends?
Because the original research was done prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, we decided to check in with our respondents to see how their attitudes and behaviors toward BFY and clean label products have changed over the last couple of months.
- Unsurprisingly, consumers are venturing out less frequently than they did before and as such, are prioritizing retailers that can serve as a one-stop shop so they can stock up on all household needs.
- Club stores are certainly benefiting from this trend due to bulk packaging and the wide range of products they offer.
- Shoppers are also making much faster in-store decisions than before the virus hit, so the products they see first are going to hold priority in their minds. As a result, close comparisons of health benefits and prices between different goods are occurring less often than before.
We covered a lot of information here, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to dig deeper into the results of our survey, you can view the full webinar on demand. Or, you can request a meeting with our team for a complete analysis of the report and learn how GutCheck’s agile market research solutions can give you more certainty during uncertain times.