Which health claims are shoppers really seeking?

by Monica Watrous
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NEWARK, N.J. — While organic and non-G.M.O. claims are becoming more important to today’s consumer, calories and fat content remain the primary drivers of better-for-you snack purchases, according to market research firm Nailbiter.

Using patent-pending technology, Nailbiter captures and analyzes consumer purchase and usage decisions through in-store and at-home videos and surveys.

“We observed hundreds of consumers shopping for healthy snacks, and they were primarily driven by ‘on-pack claims’ as they shopped across categories ranging from chips, yogurt to candy,” said Amishi Takalkar, co-founder and head of research and analytics. “On average, consumers noticed 35 to 40 different claims that could have influenced their decision making. Their final purchase decision, though, was based on just two claims.”

Woman reading label of snack packaging
Calorie and fat content are the health claims most likely to drive purchase decisions.

In examining which health claims are most likely to drive purchase decisions, Nailbiter found calorie content leads the way with 20.7% of consumer mentions of better-for-you attributes on carted products, followed closely by fat content with 20.6% of consumer mentions. Sugar content and gluten content rank next, with 8% and 7.9%, respectively, ahead of organic and G.M.O. content at 4.8% and 4.5%, respectively. Other top claims include fiber content (3.6%), whole grain (3.5%) and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives (3.4%).

In the snack puffs segment, consumers are more likely to consider calorie content (25%), organic claims (13%) and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives claims (8%). For popcorn, top attributes driving purchase decisions are calorie content (26%), gluten content (11%), G.M.O. content (11%) and whole grain (9%). Fat content is the leading factor in the crackers segment, with 29% of consumer mentions on carted products. Sodium and protein content tend to drive better-for-you nuts purchases, at 20% and 15%, respectively. In the snack bar category, a broader range of attributes drive purchase decisions, including calorie content (19%), gluten content (10%), G.M.O. content (8%), fiber content (7%) and protein content (7%).

Snack puffs
In the snack puffs segment, consumers are more likely to consider calorie content, organic claims and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives claims.

Packaging can “make or break” better-for-you products, according to Nailbiter. Two-thirds of shoppers read claims on the front of pack, while nearly half read claims on the back of the package. Consumers tend to study packages differently depending on the type of product. In the pretzels category, for example, 78% of shoppers read the front of pack, and 91% read the back of pack. For candy, comparatively, 79% read the front of pack, while only 26% read the back of pack.

Successful new products are noticed by 45% of category shoppers, according to Nailbiter data, while 20% of new products that don’t succeed are noticed by about 20% of category shoppers.

Candy and pretzels
Shoppers are more likely to read the back of pack for pretzels and the front of pack for candy.

“With 85% of new products failing after launch, it is critical for marketers to ensure their on-pack claims resonate and drive greater consideration,” Ms. Takalkar said.

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By George West 8/15/2017 4:01:46 PM
Appreciated the article! That being said, was curious to learn more about the statistical analysis regarding the pretzel package observations. In particular, what was deduced from the remaining 22% of front package experiments, and the 9% of back package experiments. Thank you for the inspired piece.