As a brand committed to staying on top of consumer trends, each year the Omega-9 Oils team looks forward to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation “Food and Health Survey.” As with previous reports, the 13th annual survey provides valuable insights about consumer attitudes and behaviors about nutrition and health.
Clean Labels Remain Important
Nearly half of consumers pay attention to the number of ingredients in a product and six in 10 would like to recognize the ingredients used.
Artificial ingredients are something consumers do not want to see on ingredient lists. When given the choice between two versions of the same product — one containing artificial ingredients, one without — 69 percent chose the product free from artificial ingredients. What’s more, many would pay extra for this product: six in 10 (62%) would pay 10 percent more, four in 10 (42%) would pay 50 percent more, and two in 10 (22%) would be willing to pay double.
Omega-9 Canola Oil can help create cleaner labels, since its natural stability delivers increased shelf life without the use of additives or artificial preservatives, such as TBHQ.
Production Factors Are a Growing Consideration
Six in 10 consumers believe it is important that the products they purchase are produced in a sustainable way, compared to half in 2017. Nearly four in 10 (37%) purchase products labeled as “natural,” 29 percent buy organic food and beverages, and 28 percent look for non-GMO products.
“Healthy” is no longer defined by a product’s nutritional content alone. Additional factors, such as ingredients and production methods, are also key factors. When respondents compared two products with identical nutriton facts, but different claims, four in 10 identfied “non-GMO” as healthier and one-third believed a product with a shorter ingredient list to be healthier.
Developed through traditional plant breeding, Omega-9 Canola Oil is available either conventionally processed or non-GMO Project Verified, giving the food industry an oil choice that best meets their needs.
Sugar Gains an Increasingly Negative Perception
A growing number of consumers are blaming carbohydrates, especially sugar, for weight gain. One-third believe sugars are “the source of calories most likely to cause weight gain,” a 22 percent increase since 2011, and three-quarters (77%) are trying to limit or avoid them.
Carbohydrates are close behind, with one-quarter of consumers naming this macronutrient as a cause of weight gain, up from 9 percent in 2011. However, many realize not all carbohydrates are “bad,” with more than 80 percent listing whole grains and fiber as “healthy.”
Just 3 percent and 16 percent believe the protein and fat are to blame for weight gain, respectively. In fact, both of these nutrients are popular among consumers.
Food industry professionals looking to use a healthy fat and leverage its positive attributes can look to Omega-9 Canola Oil, which is uniquely high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, has among the lowest levels of saturated fats, and contains zero trans fats.
Taste Continues to Be the Top Purchase Driver
Consistent with previous surveys, taste is the top driver for purchasing decisions, with eight in 10 consumers naming this as the most important factor when choosing a product. Omega-9 Canola Oil can help meet this desire, because of its light clean taste, which allows foods’ flavor to shine through.
Familiarity (65%), price (64%) and healthfulness (61%) were important factors, as well, followed by convenience (54%) and sustainability (39%).