Nielsen Says Consumers Are Now Ingredient Inspectors

With the advent of healthy living and clean eating, more people all over the world now practice due diligence when it comes to their food. In the recent Nielsen’s Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey, 70% of the respondents said that they make dietary choices to avoid health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Nielsen has nicknamed these consumers the “ingredient inspectors.”


People Are Willing to Pay More for Healthy Foods

Around 68% of the respondents surveyed agreed that they are willing to pay more for healthy food and beverages. This was supported by U.S. retail sales data which indicated that the sales of health and wellness products are outpacing other types of fast-moving consumer goods.

According to Director Andrew Mandzy from Neilsen’s Strategic Health and Wellness Insights group, most consumers want to eat healthily. But they need the commitment from food manufacturers to create products that are made from simple and clean ingredients. Consumers depend on food companies to develop “better-for-you” products that are still convenient for their busy lifestyles.


Reasons for The Rise in Ingredient Inspectors

So why is there a rising trend in the food and wellness industry? Perhaps one of the reasons is food sensitivity or intolerance. The same survey conducted by Neilsen indicated that 36% of the respondents revealed that they opted for healthy foods because they are suffering from allergies or live with someone who does. The rise of lactose intolerance and seafood allergies was cited by 12% of the respondents.

Aside from food allergies, many consumers are actively excluding several ingredients from their diets. This motivation to eliminate certain foods can be brought about by religious influences or just small lifestyle decisions. Regardless, 64% of the respondents follow diets that prohibit certain foods or ingredients. For instance, 84% of the African and Middle Eastern respondents reveal that they follow a special diet as cited by their religion.  Respondents from Asia-Pacific scored 72% on the survey indicating that they support it for lifestyle and religious purposes. Most of them adhered to a vegetarian diet as reflective of their beliefs. Only 44%  of people living in North America and Europe cited motivation from religion to exclude ingredients in their food.


In the global survey, it was indicated that sugar is the most common ingredient that is eliminated by 31% of the respondents. Others limit their intake of carbohydrates and sodium for health reasons. Many of the interviewees are well aware of the effects caused by the foods they eat. In fact, 75% of people are anxious about the long-term impacts of incorporating synthetic ingredients into their food. Most of the respondents avoid foods that contain preservatives, coloring, and artificial flavors.

Consumers are demanding better food, and it’s up to food companies to supply this growing demand. It’s up to food companies to capitalize on the new opportunity and win customers with new healthy options.

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