Market research agency GfK has conducted an online research study – involving 23,000 consumers from 17 countries – about how important certain factors are, from a list of choices, when deciding what to eat or drink. Almost half of the participants have identified low-sugar and GMO-free as “extremely” or “very important” for them when it comes to food choices.
Forty-eight percent of consumers have selected these top two choices as most important to them. Just under that bracket at 45 percent are products with low-sodium and low-salt. The forth most important category is tied at 44 percent between products that are organic, low-fat and fortified with vitamins and minerals.
The study finds the most selective food and drink shoppers to be between 30-39 years old. This group has the highest percentage of voters who label categories as “extremely” or “very” important. It is also noted that products which are labeled as organic, fortified with vitamins and minerals, prebiotic, probiotic or gluten-free are more important to consumers under the age of 40.
Income is also a factor when it comes to the selectiveness of shoppers. The survey identifies consumers within a higher-income bracket to be more likely to put importance on these categories than those who come from lower-income households. Among the high-income households, the most significant categories are GMO-free at 55 percent, low sugar or sugar-free at 54 percent and low sodium or low salt at 52 percent.
Low-income households also find importance in some of these factors, but they are mentioned by a lower percentage of people. GMO-free is one of the top two categories selected by this demographic at 44 percent. Second to that is low-sugar or sugar-free products at 43 percent. The third most important factor is a tie between organic products and products that are fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Gender makes a minuscule difference in some categories.
“Gender makes next to no difference in how people rate the decision factors. Men are very slightly more likely than women to place importance on local products, fortified products, pre- or probiotic and gluten-free, but the difference in each case is only three percentage points,” stated the report.
China has the highest demographic of consumers who place importance on eight of the nine factors in this study. The only exception on the list is locally produced products, where Italy takes the lead. The greatest difference seen between China and other participating countries is when it comes to pre- or probiotic products. Here, China leads by 21 percentage points over the next leading country with over half its participants placing high importance on this category.
GfK’s complimentary report can be downloaded online and has key demographic data regarding product labeling. The results of this survey are evident of the changing consumer market in the food and beverage industry.