Compared to the rest of Europe, Germans attach particular importance to naturalness when buying food, according to new research from Symrise.
The flavour and fragrance producer surveyed around 15,000 consumers from 12 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Latin America as part of six studies.
The research suggests that only taste and consumer friendliness are more important to German citizens than naturalness.
Symrise found that the explicit use of the word ‘natural’ has a great influence on the perception and acceptance of a product or its ingredients.
Meanwhile, consumers around the world are said to reject ingredients with scientific-sounding names because they do not perceive them as natural.
According to Symrise, in order for consumers to understand and trust the content of food labels, they need concrete and transparent information.
“Many consumers today want to buy the most natural food possible,” said Stefanie Hartwig, global marketing engagement manager at Symrise. “At Symrise, we respond to this preference with our code of nature platform. This means that we value natural ingredients, gentle processing and authentic taste in our products.”
The studies revealed that European consumers are “very interested” in the ingredients of food. They thoroughly read even long lists of ingredients as long as they can understand them.
The disclosure of food additives in the form of E numbers, as seen in the European Union, is also poorly received by consumers, especially in Germany.
In Asia, the proportion of consumers interested in natural foods varies relatively widely. While in Japan almost half of consumers prefer natural raw materials, in Thailand the proportion is about a third and in China about a quarter.
“Natural foods offer an enormous growth market with great opportunities for manufacturers,” said Mathias vom Weg, SVP global purchasing flavour at Symrise.
“The challenge is to ensure naturalness throughout the value chain. We focus on transparency and traceability. With clear guidelines, we ensure that our suppliers meet our requirements for naturalness.”
Last year, Symrise opened a new natural food ingredients facility in Georgia, US, following an investment $50 million.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019