Global Study Shows Reduced Sugar Top Driver of Food Choices

Gfk Study chart

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(Originally posted October 2017) A global online survey conducted October 2017 by Gfk, the German consumer research firm, revealed that, globally, consumers’ top two deciding criteria in choosing a food or beverage is whether the product is low-sugar/sugar-free, or free of genetically modified ingredients (non-GMO). Participants, numbering 23,000 from 17 countries including North and South America, Europe and Asia, took part in the internet survey. Multiple options were given in response to the question – When deciding which food or beverage product to eat or drink, how important are the following in making your decision? These options are as follows:

• It is a low-sugar or sugar-free product
• It is gluten-free
• It contains pre- or probiotics
• It is made locally or uses local ingredients
• It is low fat or no fat
• It is fortified with vitamins or minerals
• It is organic or made from organic ingredients
• It is a low-sodium, low-salt product
• It is free from GMO(genetically-modified) ingredients
• None of the above

Data was weighted according to the demographic composition of the online population in each market. In addition, global data percentages reflect the weighted proportion of the target population relative to other countries within a global, regional or multi-country area. Out of a 5-point scale, the data represents only the top two tiers – if the option is very important or extremely important to the individual.

Among the 17 countries surveyed, the only category the USA ranked among the top five in, percentage-wise, was whether the product contained pre- or probiotics. In the USA, the number one option was low-sugar/sugar-free; followed by non-GMO and locally sourced ingredients – each scored equally; then low-sodium/low-salt in third place.

Data was also presented and divided into six different age-group categories (15-19; 20-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; and 60+ years). While eliminating the “none of the above category,” low-sugar/sugar-free was the top decision-making factor for the 30 to 60+ year-old groups, while vitamin and mineral fortification ranked number one among 15 to 29-year olds. Non-GMO ranked second among 30 to 49-year olds; locally sourced ingredients was second for the 20-29 and 50-59-year category; low-sodium/low-salt for people 60+-years old; and low/no-fat products for 15 to 19-years old. The lowest ranked items were gluten-free and contains pre- or probiotics for all age categories, except for 20-29-year olds, who placed low/no-fat products as the second lowest factor. Organic foods and ingredients ranked third lowest among all age categories except for the 20 to 39-year olds, who considered low/no-fat products their third lowest criteria in food selection.

Data was also divided by income. Those of medium, medium-high and high income selected low-sugar/sugar-free as the number one decision-making option, while those living on low income chose non-GMO.

Source: Global Gfk survey: Decision factors on what to eat and drink, October 2017

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