Demand for clean-label ingredients continues to rise, with 75% of European consumers rating ingredients lists as important and 69% always reading front-of-pack messaging when making a purchase, according to new research.
The study, by MMR research and commissioned by National Starch Food Innovation, interviewed 1,500 consumers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.
The research highlighted the importance of considering regional differences when developing and launching new products. For example, on-pack claims such as 'low in fat' or 'high in fibre' are 'important' or 'very important' to 84% of Spanish respondents, whereas only 50% of German consumers say these claims influence their purchasing decision. In France, consumers prefer positive claims such as 'natural', whereas British consumers proved more familiar with negative claims such as 'no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives'.
However, 60% of consumers said a 'natural/all natural' claim would make them consider switching from their usual brand and 77% of British consumers considered a short, simple ingredients list as 'quite' or 'very important' when making purchasing decisions.
Across the board, consumers paid more attention to front-of-pack messaging than back- or side-of-pack claims.
However, this does not mean back- or side-of-pack claims aren't considered important. In Italy, 78% of consumers said they regularly read this information when making a purchasing decision.
"Already a well-established trend in the UK, where clean-label is seen as a qualifier, the market for clean-label products continues to flourish and expand into many other territories throughout Europe," comments Cathrin Kurz, European marketing manager, Wholesome, National Starch Food Innovation.