Improved and clear communication: the better choice.
The fact that consumers want to live healthily is well-known for quite some time. Yet, with an abundance of information, one can get somewhat overwhelmed. Lifestyle programs or articles (online or on TV) are omnipresent and the number of cook book launches has grown exponentially in recent years. Each expert advocating his/her own logic about what’s nutritious and good for you. What is the consumer to know, understand and watch out for in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle?
Could an overflow of messages be too much for the consumer to handle? Is there a risk of becoming counter-productive with each food producer launching a unique product proposition? BENEO takes a closer look at how Front-Of-Pack messages can bring clarity to consumers in order to help them make (healthier) food choices more easily.
What the experts say: healthy nutrition starts with quality ingredients.
Seven in ten consumers (¹) across the globe say that they want nutrition labels on products to be as simple as possible. This is because of their desire to understand quickly and easily what a product contains. Currently, a total of 53% of consumers say they believe that nutritional labeling is often made purposely difficult to understand.
Which nutritional information are they most interested in?
The knowledge of calories has been around for a while. But more important now is to see at one glance what kind of good (or bad) ingredients are in a product. In Western Europe, the number one ingredient people check when purchasing their groceries is fibre (61%), closely followed by protein, then sugar and fat – last in line are the calories (28%). (²)
Consumers look for/avoid specific nutrients when buying food:
Sources: (¹) FMCG Gurus, Nutritional information & labelling report, October 2019(²)
BENEO Health & Nutrition Survey Western-Europe, 2019
Videos: What consumers think of Front-Of-Pack messages
We asked consumers if they were aware of the nutritional messages and facts on the front of product packages and asked what they thought of such information. Here are some of their comments.
Transparent labelling: a global initiative.
Where people look for simple answers and clarity on what they consume, health authorities around the globe put food brands under pressure to join forces on aligned messages. Many governments establish policies to encourage the industry with policies for standardised, truthful and informative nutritional labelling systems.
In Europe governments and industries appear to have a focus on calories and sugar (e.g. UK target to reduce calories by 20% by 2024), while authorities in China and New Zealand aim to protect vulnerable age groups: regulation on production and labelling of food for the Chinese elderly is currently in draft; marketing activity on infant formula in NZ is strongly regulated.
Strict calorie labelling for restaurant menus is also established in North America and Saudi Arabia. And the list of guidelines, restrictions, policies goes on… Just like the number of labelling systems that appear on product packages: Nutri-Score in France (Belgium, Netherlands,…), Traffic Light in UK and Ecuador, HealthStar in Australia, Healthier Choice in Singapore,.. Whether one is a pro- or antagonist of such systems, they can bring clarity on product content and may serve as a tool to bring your product messages across to the consumer.
Better-for-you food with naturally-sourced ingredients.
BENEO functional ingredients offer a wide variety of solutions to improve the nutritional identity of your product proposition. Ranging from reducing the less desired ingredients to including the more desirable ones, and even improving the taste or texture of such “reduced recipes”.
Taste and texture are key when developing a scrumptious product, and fat is one of the building blocks developers use to deliver smooth textures. Unfortunately, fat content negatively affects the number of calories and the overall nutritional image of a product.
Using Orafti® Inulin is one of BENEO’s solutions to reduce fat levels in e.g. fillings, spreads, dairy desserts,… For such desserts, its neutral taste and low solubility (< 1 %) make it ideal to offer a similar creaminess to fat in water-based foods. In addition, BENEO offers a range or rice starches as fat replacement solution. For example, the Remyline range enhances body and smoothness of a cream cheese, and its excellent water binding properties ensure stability in favour of a longer shelf life. Even in meat products, the BENEO functional ingredients can offer solutions, as shown in the below recipe.
Sugar-rich foods are under scrutiny and may even risk being banned from mother’s shopping trolleys. How can we improve their nutritional profile to make the tasty products mum-friendly again? With a focus on sugar reduction for healthier food choices, one way is to communicate with simple taglines, like e.g. “…% less sugar” or use colour-coded labels front-of-pack.
With BENEO’s naturally-sourced fibres, it is very easy to reduce the initial sugar content by 30% in products like biscuits, beverages, cereals and yes, even in ice cream! Alternatively, we offer Isomalt, a sweetener derived exclusively from beet sugar. With its low hygroscopicity, it is a sweet solution in a multitude of indulgent applications; e.g. in confections or dry and soft-baked goods. Talk to our experts about all BENEO’s answers for sugar replacement requirements.
Consumers are actively looking for products that will help them to keep their blood glucose levels lower and in balance. The term “low GI” has become a well-known message in the US, indicating the low glycaemic index of a product. It triggers people to choose such products when they want to avoid for example sugar peaks/drops. Whether marketing messages mention the index or the response,… BENEO’s low glycaemic carbohydrate, Palatinose™ in your product will bring the best benefit to your consumers. With a GI as low as 32, it is BENEO’s star ingredient for blood sugar management objectives.
Though lowering sugar levels is trending at the moment, it is not the all-round solution for every situation. As a basic nutritional need, food is consumed to feed the body with energy – and this involves eating carbohydrates (i.e. sugars). The trick here is to find those quality carbs that our body benefits most from: slow-release carbohydrates providing sustained energy!
To ensure consumers understand the value of this benefit at a glance, BENEO has developed simple visual tools for our business partners to use on their packaging.