Low- or no-sugar

When it comes to healthy eating, low-sugar and sugar-free are far and away the qualities UK consumers look for in a product.

GfK asked 23,000 consumers online in 17 countries how important certain factors are, from a given list, when deciding what to eat or drink.

In the UK, 42% said low-sugar or sugar-free is “extremely” or “very” important to them, rising to 46% amongst 30- to 39-year-olds. Low or no fat (34%) was next on the list, followed by GMO-free and low sodium or salt (both 31%).

Almost one in three (30%) looked for local ingredients, whilst organic was important for almost one in four (24%).

Research also published by Mintel last week showed that sales of yellow fats and edible oils are in decline. Three in five (62%) shoppers who buy butter, spread, oil and fat say they are frying less food at home now compared to a few years ago, while 43% say they are buying fewer bread products and 42% say they are baking less at home.

There are factors, however, that could “butter up” sales of yellow fats and edible oils, the analysts said. Nearly three in 10 (28%) consumers would pay more for products supporting British farmers, and just under a fifth would pay more for an organic product (19%); the same proportion would pay more for a product that guaranteed higher animal welfare (19%). Furthermore, 44% said that the regional origin of a product, for instance Cornish butter, increases its appeal.

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