A survey of American, British and French consumers by Truvia Natural Sweetener found that French consumers claim to eat the healthiest, while American and British consumers are more likely to reward themselves with food and drink. But all three consumer groups hold fast to their favorite indulgences.
Truvia surveyed more than 1,000 consumers each in the UK, US and France in September on their attitudes about healthy eating, nutrition labels and indulgence.
Americans, British more likely to reward themselves
All three groups admit to occasional indulgences, though nearly a third (30%) of French consumers identify themselves as healthy eaters who always try to make nutritious choices, compared to 21% of both British and American consumers who said the same.
When asked how they reward themselves after a week of healthy eating, the French are also more apt to say they will power on, with 34% saying they don’t do any indulging to reward themselves. Conversely, 74% of Americans and 72% of British consumers will reward themselves for eating healthy, and will most often do so with food or drink.
Despite their strict healthy eating claims, the French are the least likely of all three groups to give up their favorite indulgences, with 45% saying they wouldn’t give up their favorite food or beverage indulgence for anything, compared to 28% of American consumers and 33% of British consumers.
And when it comes to said indulgences, well over half (57%) of French consumers favor savory indulgences, and 46% of British consumers favor coffee and tea. American consumers, however, appear to be torn between sweet and savory, with 42% saying they’d refuse to give up savory indulgences and 40% saying they’d never give up sweets.
Of the three groups, French consumers are the least likely to lie about themselves, with 48% claiming they don’t lie when it comes to food, body and lifestyle topics, followed by British consumers (40%) and Americans (38%).
Brits most likely to indulge when feeling down
When asked about the various potential scenarios that lend themselves most to a little indulgence, French and the American consumers said they are more likely than the British to eat in a positive context such as a celebration (Americans led, with 46%) or feeling confident (French led, with 32%). British consumers said they’re just as likely to indulge when feeling negative emotions (particularly when sad or upset, as 35% of British consumers reported) as when they feel good.
Among those consumers who say something stops them from eating healthy, the number one answer for consumers in all three countries was lack of motivation (46% of UK consumers, 40% French and 37% American).
Americans, Brits find nutrition labels useful
When food shopping, American and British consumers focus most on nutritional value when deciding what to buy, with 80% and 64%, respectively, saying that nutritional content helps them decide what to buy. French consumers, however, value the “all-natural” label above all, with 61% saying it is most important, the survey found.
And while Americans focus the least on sustainability out of all three groups—just 16% say it factors into purchasing decisions—they care most about whether food is organic, with 24% saying organic labels help them decide what to buy, versus 18% of French consumers and 14% of British consumers saying the same.
Mark Brooks, global business director of the Truvia, told FoodNavigator-USA that manufacturers can seize on both the differences and similarities among consumers in each country to learn how to target them better.
“For instance, motivations for maintaining a healthy diet differ among countries, from health reasons to setting a good example for their families. Global manufacturers can look to tailor their product mix and marketing efforts to best drive the relevance in each market,” he said.
“Global manufacturers can also capitalize on the key similarities in consumer eating habits across the surveyed countries. For example, overall consumer interest in managing calories without compromising favorite foods is clearly reflected in these results. This healthy eating trend has also contributed to the growth of available reduced-calorie offerings in all three markets, such as stevia-based sweeteners and Truvia natural sweetener, which continue to grow in popularity.”