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Retail|FMCG|Market Opportunities and Innovation|Trends and Forecasting|Global Study|Global|English

Low-sugar and GMO-free are top factors when deciding what to eat or drink

Nuremberg, 25.10.2017

Factors rated “very” or “extremely” important by consumers

Nuremberg, October 25, 2017 – Nearly half of consumers report that “low sugar or sugar-free” and “free from GMO ingredients” are very or extremely important factors when deciding which food or beverage product to eat or drink. These factors top the list, just ahead of factors such as low-salt, organic, low fat, or fortified with vitamins or minerals.

GfK asked 23,000 consumers online in 17 countries how important certain factors are, from a given list, when deciding what to eat or drink. Nearly half (48 percent) report that products being low-sugar or sugar-free is “extremely” or “very” important to them, and an equal number say the same for products being free from genetically-modified (GMO) ingredients.

Low sodium or low-salt products came third highest, with 45 percent. And forth place was a tie between organic products, low fat or no-fat products, and products that are fortified with vitamins or minerals. These all came equal with 44 percent of consumers rating these as very or extremely important when making their decision on what to eat or drink.

% rating each item “very” or “extremely” important, when deciding what to eat or drink

It is a low-sugar or sugar-free product

48%

It is free from GMO (genetically modified) ingredients

48%

It is a low-sodium, low-salt product

45%

It is organic or made from organic ingredients

44%

It is low fat or no fat

44%

It is fortified with vitamins or minerals

44%

It is made locally or uses local ingredients

38%

It contains pre- or probiotics

35%

It is gluten-free

26%

None of the above

12%

GfK survey of 23,000 internet users aged 15+ in 17 countries. Multiple answers possible.

 

Organic, probiotic, fortified and gluten-free products are more important to people aged under 40

The most selective food and drink shoppers are those aged 30-39 years old. This group nearly always has the highest percentage rating factors as “very” or “extremely” important.

Also of note is that products which are organic, fortified with vitamins or minerals, pre- or probiotic or gluten-free are more important amongst people aged under 40 years old than amongst those aged 40 plus. 

Impacts of income and gender

As expected, people from high income households set consistently higher importance on all the factors, compared to the lower income households.

Among high income households, the most important factors are GMO-free (55 percent), low sugar or sugar-free (54 percent) and low sodium or low salt (52 percent).  Among low income households, GMO-free and low sugar or sugar-free are also the top two, but mentioned by a significantly lower percentage (44 percent and 43 percent respectively). And the third most important factor for this group is a tie between organic products and products fortified with vitamins or minerals (41 percent).

Gender makes next to no difference in how people rate the decision factors. Men are very slightly more likely than women to place importance on local products, fortified products, pre- or probiotic and gluten-free, but the difference in each case is only three percentage points.

Chinese are the most selective on what to eat and drink, out of 17 countries surveyed 

In eight out of the nine decision factors researched, China tops the list for having the highest percentage placing importance on that item, when deciding what to eat or drink. The exception is for locally produced products, where Italy takes the lead.

The greatest difference between China and other nations is seen when it comes to preference for pre- or probiotic products. Here, China is 21 percentage points ahead of the next closest country with over half of its online population placing high importance on this factor. 

Get the complimentary report for all 17 countries surveyed

Download GfK’s complimentary report on “factors when deciding what to eat and drink” to see key demographic data for each of the 17 countries included in this survey.

GfK combines these self-reported consumer insights with data from areas such as point of sales tracking, consumer panels and geo-marketing to help clients successfully target high-potential audiences both globally and within specific countries. 

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Graphic showing the top five countries for each factor, for percentage of the online population rating that factor as 'very' or 'extremely' important when deciding what to eat or drink.

About the survey

The survey question asked, “When deciding which food or beverage product to eat or drink, how important are the following in making your decision?”, with options listed as It is organic or made from organic ingredients; It is made locally or uses local ingredients; It is a low-sugar or sugar-free product; It is low fat or no fat; It is a low-sodium, low-salt product; It is fortified with vitamins or minerals; It contains pre- or probiotics; It is free from GMO (genetically-modified) ingredients; It is gluten-free.

GfK interviewed 23,000 consumers online in 17 countries in the summer 2017. Data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population aged 15+ in each market. The global average given in this release is weighted, based on the size of each country proportional to the other countries.

Countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, UK and USA

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