A study by Cargill has found that 68% of consumers across the world closely monitor the type and amount of fat and oil when determining which packaged foods to purchase.
Cargill’s Fatitudes study is conducted annually to help deliver insights on changing consumer needs to drive future food innovation. In its most recent study, approximately 6,600 primary household grocery shoppers were surveyed across 12 countries including the US, Germany, China, Brazil and the UK.
The study confirmed that olive oil tops the list in every country for impact on purchase and perceptions of healthfulness in packaged foods, followed by fish and avocado oils.
Results also found that health claims are highly influential when making food purchasing decisions with 54% of consumers reporting that fat-related claims such as fat-free and low fat make them more likely to purchase the packaged food.
Meanwhile, several countries indicated that they are more likely to purchase a product with a sustainability claim, as well as organic certification.
“As consumers’ attitudes toward fats and oils have shifted in recent years, we know they’re interested in consuming healthy amounts of oils,” said Nese Tagma, managing director of strategy and innovation for Cargill’s global edible oils business.
Tagma added: “This research is vital to guide our thinking on whether to revitalise tried-and-true products or develop a new frying oil to adapt to changing tastes and health options.”
The study also revealed that how often consumers read labels differ by geography. Chinese consumers were found to pay the most attention (89%), while German consumers the least (48%).
Nearly two-thirds (61%) of US consumers reported avoiding certain fats or oils, and among those who rank as “clean-label seekers,” 83% said they avoid certain fats or oils such as saturated and trans fats.
Florian Schattenmann, CTO and vice president of innovation and R&D at Cargill, said: “Food is becoming increasingly personalised; consumers are basing their purchasing decisions on specific ingredients. At the same time, society is driving food ingredient companies to develop more options for health-conscious consumers.
“Using consumer insights helps us innovate in ways that balance the societal pressures with individual preferences to create healthful, sustainable and cost-effective products.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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