Consumer Attitudes Towards Food Ingredients [Presentation]

Originally Published: October 15, 2021
Last Updated: March 7, 2022
Consumer Attitudes Towards Food Ingredients - 2021 Clean Label Premium Webinar-Anthony Flood

The presentation titled “Consumer Attitudes Towards Food Ingredients: A Changing Landscape” was given by Anthony Flood, Senior Director, Food Ingredient Communications, International Food Information Council (IFIC).  This presentation was part of Global Food Forums’ 2021 Premium Webinar Series “Technical Solutions in Formulating Clean Label Food.” 

The webinar description is as follows: Consumer perceptions about the healthfulness and safety of additives and other food components are a major driving force in the formulation of products. Backed by a foundation of insights acquired from over 30 years of IFIC consumer research, this presentation delves into some of the latest survey results on consumer attitudes toward food, food ingredients and health. You may be surprised on what’s trending up, what’s trending down and despite the turmoil of the last two years, what’s changed very little.

Excerpt from the Written Summary of this Presentation: Regarding ingredient choices, 64% of those in the survey try to choose foods with clean ingredients. How did survey respondents define clean ingredients? Most people said they avoid ingredients with chemical-sounding names and those that are highly processed—preferring those with simple-ingredient lists, fresh, natural, organic and those perceived as nutritious. Among those that seek out clean ingredients, a quarter said health benefits were the top motivator, emphasized Flood. Of the 56% who avoid ingredients with chemical-sounding names, 64% of them cited the reason as perceived health concerns, he added.

When asked for examples of chemical-sounding names by a webinar attendee, Flood mentioned that IFIC’s surveys are broad in scope intentionally, so consumers can answer certain questions for themselves. “When consumers are asked for their safety concerns regarding food ingredients in the Food & Health Survey, we find they can’t list them by name,” said Flood. “If we list a particular food chemical or compound by name, consumers will respond to that in a negative manner,” he added.

Survey results revealed that “the words ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ evoke strong reactions around food choices. About half of Americans say they seek out natural flavors at least some of the time; 41% seek out natural sweeteners; 40% seek out natural preservatives; and 35% seek out colors from natural sources. In contrast, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners and preservatives were sought by only about one in 10 consumers, with approximately half saying they avoid each of them at least some of the time.”

Click here to view the written summary “Consumers’ Ingredient Awareness on the Rise” from this presentation.

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NOTE:  A summary of this presentation plus expanded information will be published late fall of 2021.

See Anthony Flood’s video below.