Global 2020 vision of the food industry

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Percent, Nutrition

Food companies developing new products need to pay more attention to consumer expectations as shoppers seek more information, choices and accountability over what they buy, a new study said.

Consumers expect food companies to be more responsible for their health and well-being according to the report from Ketchum, called Food 2020: The Consumer as CEO​, which examines attitudes about food and offers an outlook of the industry in 12 years time.

Overall 75 percent of those surveyed said they would like businesses to place a great emphasis on creating foods that reduce the risk of major health issues in the future. And 56 percent think companies should help by making foods with more nutrients per calorie.

Also 63 percent of consumers want to be able to recognize all of the ingredients on a food label and 34 percent want foods to be made with as few ingredients as possible.

The consumer trend-watcher, Phil Lempert, who describes himself as a supermarket guru and helped develop the survey, said: “Consumers want more information about ingredients and health benefits from both supermarkets and restaurants.

“Food companies should be aware of these expectations as they focus on product development in the future.”

The consumers surveyed were based in the US as well as the UK, Germany, Argentina and China.

Forty-five percent said food companies should play a role in addressing obesity and 63 percent of consumers believe food companies should help reduce obesity by decreasing junk foods. Just 21 percent think companies should reduce portion sizes to address this issue.

When asked what factors, besides cost, prevent them from buying healthier foods, 44 percent cited “knowing what’s truly healthy”​ and 43 percent cited taste.

However, brand names lagged well behind other key areas such as quality, price, health benefits, value, convenience of preparation and taste, as only one-third of consumers cited it as among the factors they considered when buying food.

Social responsibility

The report said that social responsibility was also an issue as consumers want food companies to help solve issues related to food and nutrition. They are also willing to pay for it, within reason, as more than 40 percent of consumers said they would be likely to pay more for food if it would improve the quality of water and food and bring medicines to those in need.

Improving human nutrition would be the top priority if they were CEO of a global food company for 65 percent of consumers. Making food that is safer would be a close second at 64 percent and making foods that taste great would be the third-highest priority at 52 percent.

Ketchum’s Global Food & Nutrition Practice commissioned the survey of 1,000 consumers which formed the basis of the study.

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