Presentation continues to play a large part in people’s dining habits, whether they are eating out or preparing meals at home. Today’s consumers demand quality natural ingredients be used in dishes that look enticing while delivering on flavor. If a dish doesn’t look appetizing, convincing someone to try it will not be easy.
Colors and flavors of foods and beverages play a large part in choosing ingredients to purchase and prepare. For well over a decade (since 2009), consumers have increasingly looked to their stores to carry foods that are natural, organic and preservative-free, with the desire for organically grown foods exhibiting the most growth (49%), per NMI’s 2020 Health and Wellness Trends Database. Consumers have been increasing their clean eating practices for some time, seeking foods that are unadulterated and free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives (up from 54% in 2009 to 69% in 2020), which in turn drives natural color and flavor innovation within the supply chain.
Taste and health
Over half of consumers (59%) indicated they believe healthy food should taste good and they are not willing to sacrifice taste to that end. On the list of top five attributes rated as very/somewhat important to their food/beverage purchase decisions are taste, value for the money, nutritious, simple-to-understand labeling, and fresh and less processed. Consumers appear to be looking for nutritious ingredients that give them the most bang for their buck.
Regarding labeling, consumers are checking the Nutrition Facts panel, checking the ingredient list on the package and checking claims on the front of the package. They are also checking labels for undesirable ingredients, artificial colors/flavors, natural ingredients, organic ingredients and preservatives.
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Jan Nash is senior director of research at the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), a strategic consulting, market research and business development firm specializing in the health, wellness and sustainability marketplace. For more information on the Institute’s services or proprietary research tools, contact [email protected].