A third of UK respondents (32%) to a Nielsen survey of more than 30,000 people claimed they would buy less salty products.
Just behind them were chocolate, biscuits, cakes, crackers and pies – with 28% of consumers planning to cut down their consumption. A quarter (25%) planned to reduce the amount of sugar sweets they bought and 23% planned to reduce consumption of ice cream and ready-to-eat/frozen meals.
Nielsen’s UK head of business and retailer insight Mike Watkins said: “Britons regard sugar, salt, artificial additives, cholesterol and fat as the biggest health-related evils impacting which products they buy.
“Conversely, natural flavours, fruit or veg, whole grain, fibre and protein are the most important ingredients to encourage purchasing.”
A third (31%) of UK respondents to the internet survey claimed a product being ‘low or sugar-free’ was a very important factor when choosing food.
‘Low-salt/ sodium’ products were the second most important health attribute for consumers (29%) – slightly ahead of ‘flavours/colours’ and ‘natural flavours’ which 28% of respondents identified as very important.
Health was still not the main priority for Brits when making food purchases, Watkins claimed.
“Britons, however, are much less likely than [other] Europeans – and people globally, as a whole – to let health attributes of food products affect what they buy,” he said.
“For instance, food being free from genetically-modified organisms is a very important factor to 47% of Europeans in their buying decision – more than twice the number of Britons (22%).”
Among the 27 food health attributes covered in the survey, respondents said they were most willing to pay more for products that were ‘all natural’, ‘gluten-free’ or organic. Britons were much less likely to pay more for healthy attributes in foods than Europeans as a whole, the survey found.
Over the next six months, Britons were most likely to buy – from a choice of 25 food categories covered in the survey – more fruit and vegetables (25%), nuts/seeds, seafood (both 16%) and yogurt (12%).