Consumers becoming more conscious of ingredients in products, says FMCG research
Consumers are becoming more conscious about product ingredients, seeking reassurance over realness and authenticity, with natural formulation becoming of increasing importance within the confectionery sector, according to FMCG Gurus research.
As the organisation noted, while it is important that brands do not compromise on sensory appeal, they should look to reformulate products where possible, providing reassurance that offerings such as candies and gummies are free from ingredients from additives. This will appeal to consumers who are turning to confectionery products on a regular basis for escapism purposes, but do not want such occasions to create feelings of guilt or misalign with longer-term health goals.
Significantly, FMCG Gurus found that consumers are being more attentive to product formulation than ever before, due to heightened concerns about the use of certain ingredients. Its latest studies show that 63% of shoppers say that they have become more attentive to the ingredient listings on the products that they purchase.
When questioned why, the two most popular answers where I have become more conscious about my health in the wake of COVID-19 (62%) and I want to reduce my intake of “bad” ingredients (60%).
These findings go some way to explain why 74% of people around the world say it is important that products are 100% natural. On a category-by-category basis, 55% say that natural claims are important within the confectionery industry. The findings show that while natural formulation may be slightly less of a priority in product categories inherently associated with indulgence, they are still of high appeal. This is because consumers want products that they deem to be guilt-free.
Mike Hughes, head of consumer insight at FMCG Gurus added: “Over the last twelve months, consumers have demonstrated two somewhat contradictory attitudes and behaviours. On one hand, consumers have turned to food and drink products for moments of escapism on a daily basis, in order to deal with the high levels of uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. This is a trend that is likely to continue for some time. For instance, 43% of consumers stated in February 2021 that they had purchased more comfort products such as confectionery in the last month.
“While concerns remain about future waves of the virus and the state of the economy, this is something that will continue. However, on the other hand, consumers are also looking to improve their dietary habits as they look to minimise their vulnerability to disease and illness – and recognise that current eating habits are something that may increase the risk of such products. Ultimately, consumers want products – especially in categories that they turn to for moments of escapism – to offer comfort and small indulgence, without creating feelings of guilt in the long-term, or contributing to weight gain in the long-term.
He added that those purchasing confectionery products will always see them as something of an occasional treat as part of a balanced diet. For instance, 2020 research showed that of the people who purchase candies and gummies, 62% describe them as outright unhealthy. However, natural formulation is something that could make confectionery products appear less brad-for-you, especially if consumers feel reassured that products are free from additives, chemicals, and synthetics that they deem to be detrimental to their health (and in some instances, the wider environment). Brands should focus on reformulation if they can – whilst ensuring that they do not compromise on taste – promoting natural formulation to reduce the guilt associated with consumption and boost premium credentials.