Study: Consumers want more say in food ingredients

by Staff
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SAN FRANCISCO — Consumers would like a greater say about food ingredients, safety and quality. In addition, they expect the way they choose and shop for foods to be different by the year 2020, according to a Ketchum study of consumers in five countries.

"Food companies often ask consumers about food preparation and convenience, but the areas where consumers want more control are the ones where food companies are least likely to seek consumer input," said Linda Eatherton, director of Ketchum’s Global Food & Nutrition Practice. "These survey results indicate that food companies are asking the wrong questions."

At least half of the 1,000 consumers surveyed said they want more involvement in the use of ingredients and additives, the source of ingredients and treatment of animals, nutrition content and who should be responsible for food safety and quality.

The study, "Food 2020: The Consumer as CEO," asked consumers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Argentina and China and found taste, quality and price are the top consideration in choosing foods, except in China where health benefits are more important.

Other findings showed knowledge, taste and availability are key barriers to healthier eating; consumers want good taste but also want to know more about what’s in their food; and brands are losing their relevance in many areas of the world.

In addition, consumers said they want food companies to help solve societal issues related to food and nutrition and are willing to pay for it within reason. Consumers also want food companies to take away the temptations that lead to obesity, but they don’t want to eat less.

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