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Superfoods for the Win, Artificial Ingredients Out

Posted by Kira Karapetian on May 16, 2017

Welcome back to our Shopper Trends series. We’re taking a deeper look at key findings from the 2017 Label Insight Shopper Trends Survey. Last time we talked about how more and more Americans are grocery shopping with specific diets in mind. This post will look at foods and ingredients on the rise, and those that have fallen out of favor.

Superfoods: So Matcha to Love

The popularity of superfoods has risen in recent years as consumers become increasingly health conscious. But you may be surprised to learn just how sought after these nutrient-rich foods are. Our research shows that 85% of shoppers seek out some type of superfood every time they grocery shop. What foods topped the list?

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  • Blueberries (63%)
  • Avocados (60%)
  • Green tea (50%)
  • Kale (44%)
  • Cinnamon (44%)

For brands, finding new ways to add superfoods to packaged foods and beverages could be a boon for sales. Similarly, calling out the presence of superfoods with relevant marketing claims on product labels will help shoppers make smart choices.

There’s also value in tracking consumer preference for rising superfood stars. Up-and-comers like chia, acai and matcha, which are sought out by 28 percent, 21 percent and 8 percent of shoppers, respectively, could be the next blueberry or avocado. In fact, according to Nielsen Product Insider (powered by Label Insight!), we’re already seeing chia seeds pop up in more and more foods and beverages. This high-nutrient, low-cal seed was found in 23% of grocery categories in March 2017, up from 21% of categories in 2016.

Not natural? Not in my basket!

Unlike superfoods, some ingredients are not feeling the love from consumers. Three in four shoppers report that they avoid specific ingredients when grocery shopping. Not surprising, at the top of this list is high fructose corn syrup (HFSC) with more than half (56%) of shoppers avoiding it.

HFCS aside, an overwhelming majority of shoppers report avoiding all things artificial and unnatural. This includes artificial sweeteners (44% report avoiding it), artificial colors (36%), preservatives (36%) and artificial flavors (35%).

Of course, some ingredient avoidances reported by respondents -- like gluten (13%), dairy (10%) and nuts (5%) -- are due to allergies and sensitivities. But with HFCS, preservatives and artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners at the top of the list, food and beverage brands will want to keep a close eye on shifting consumer perceptions and preferences and develop and reformulate products accordingly.

Check back soon or subscribe to the blog to get more research findings delivered to your inbox. Can’t wait? Download the full 2017 Shopper Trends study for complete results and insights.

A note about our methodology. In March 2017, Label Insight surveyed 1,003 consumers who have a shared or primary responsibility for household shopping purchases. Consumers were asked about their dietary preferences, their ability to find information they need to make informed purchasing decisions, and their confidence in finding the information they seek.

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Topics: Trends & Research

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