Two new surveys reveal that food and drink manufacturers are still not providing clear on-pack labelling, and even when they do some ingredients are unrecognizable to many consumers, leaving them confused.
In one study conducted by SurveyGoo and commissioned by Ingredient Communications, 50% of the 1,000 UK and US adults surveyed said they’re more likely to buy a product if they recognize all the ingredients listed on the label, yet only 19% of respondents said they were always able to do so.
Over a third (36%) said they are less likely to buy a product made with an ingredient they didn’t recognize, while 44% said they would be happy to pay a premium if they recognized all the ingredients in a product.
In addition, 81% considered the label claim ‘made with natural ingredients’ to be very or quite appealing and 78% thought similarly about the label claim ‘free from artificial ingredients’.
“Ingredients companies have taken big steps forward to optimize their portfolios to include clean label ingredients that can be declared on-pack in clear language that most consumers will recognize,” comments Richard Clarke, MD of Ingredient Communications. “Manufacturers of finished products should consider formulating – or reformulating – their products to include these ingredients, or they risk being left behind.”
It’s increasingly important that consumers have a broader understanding of the ingredients found in most vegan and vegetarian options
Another study focusing on plant-based products, found that 86% of those polled have never heard of methylcellulose — a thickening ingredient used in a fifth of plant-based products — over half (57%) hadn’t heard of xanthan gum, with maltodextrin (74%) and calcium alginate (79%) also unfamiliar ingredients.
The poll, conducted by plant-based brand Gosh!, revealed that 40% of Brits mistakenly believe that these foods only contain natural ingredients, over a third of people think plant-based products are artisan and 38% believe they’re only made from recognizable ingredients found in your kitchen cupboard.
“More than 19 million Brits have adopted a flexitarian diet, and more than a quarter of new UK food products launched in 2019 were labelled as vegan,” says William Topp, marketing manager at Gosh! “So, it’s increasingly important that consumers have a broader understanding of the ingredients found in most vegan and vegetarian options.”