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8 Things You Need to Know on Consumer Attitudes in Food and Beverage
By Rob Patterson
March 5, 2020
Recent years have brought great change in the realm of food and beverage. People across the world are more keenly aware about the nutritional value of what they put in their bodies, and as a result, brands are developing products catered towards those needs.
While the shelves have never been more stocked with better-for-you foods, that doesn’t mean all brands are reaping the rewards. Accordingly, it’s important to take a step back, amidst the dizzying pace of innovation, to understand the nuances of consumer sentiment. By understanding the ‘why’ behind the ‘buy,’ we’re able to more effectively communicate the value proposition of our products and services. Here, we take a look at ten things you need to know when it comes to consumer attitudes in food and beverage.
Despite continued strides in the development of plant-based proteins, the reality is that three-quarters of Americans still identify as meat-eaters while a quarter eat no meat or very little. In terms of dietary goals for this year, though, 38.2% say they will be trying to reduce their meat consumption.
What will get consumers to reduce their meat intake? Fifty-seven percent agree that they would eat less meat if there were better alternatives available on the market. Though in early stages of development, there’s some serious aversion to lab-grown meat. Half of consumers say they are not open to it at all while 24% say they aren’t interested. Likewise, some of the latest fast food fake meat options are not yet held in high regard.
Beyond meat (no pun intended), consumers’ main priorities for their diets include reducing sugar intake (52.2%) and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables (52%). With respect to sugar, Americans consume an average of 12 teaspoons per day in excess of recommended portions. One of the top ways consumers have decreased sugar intake is by avoiding sugary drinks, with a third saying they’ve done so in the past year.
Of course, alcohol has also been impacted by consumers looking to lead a healthier life. Nearly half of Americans identify as only occasional drinkers and an additional 23.9% say they don’t drink at all. Concurrently, there’s been a rise in interest in no- and low-alcoholic beverages; forty-six percent of Americans say they’ve purchased one within the last month, with the number jumping to 54.4% for those under the age of 40.
What are the most pressing issues for Americans in the food industry? Food safety reigns supreme, with 40.4% saying as much. Even more so, 82% agree that chemicals used in food production are a cause for concern. Outside of food safety, cost, obesity, climate change, and animal welfare also earn consideration.
Recently, we discussed some of the complexities that come with judging food products solely by claims on packaging. While we still expect a shift towards valuing content over claims, it remains true that some claims carry more weight than others. Out of seven options, Organic, Certified Naturally Grown, and Non-GMO Project were considered the most attractive.
What about the biggest challenges people face when feeding themselves or their families? Cost is of the utmost concern (48.4%), followed by trying to cook healthy (38.1%), not knowing what to cook (33.8%), and not having time to cook (27.1%). While cost is certainly important, brands can help consumers overcome these other barriers by creating healthy, easy-to-prepare products and communicating how they can be incorporated into a variety of meal recipes.
Finally, though food and drink subscription services are used by only 8.9% of Americans, 37% say they’re potentially interested in one. For those that do use meal subscription services, the main benefits are that they enable people to eat healthy, they save time on supermarket visits, allow people to try new recipes, and take the decision-making out of the equation.
To stand out from the countless better-for-you options out there on the market, brands need to make sure that they’re sharing the right message with their audience. To learn more about how our suite of experiential-led services can deliver the message to consumers, encourage trial, and earn lifelong loyalists, contact us today.
Source: “The Future of Food and Drink (US).” Attest (2020)