Global survey demonstrating how the emotional needs drive consumer needs and purchase behaviors
As the world grapples with environmental concerns and health anxieties, there has been a noticeable shift in our food purchasing and consumption habits. Two primary trends have taken the helm: an increased emotional attachment towards 'locally grown' and 'organic' foods, and the emergence of food fads into the mainstream. These trends have significantly influenced consumer purchasing patterns, triggering substantial changes in the food industry.
The inclination towards locally grown and organic foods often ties into a larger narrative – that these foods are inherently healthier, more nutritious, and less harmful to the environment. However, it's important to note that these perceptions often extend beyond the realm of rationality and scientific backing.
Bryter conducted a recent survey to explore these changes in food perceptions and consumption within some key global markets: the US, Canada, Brazil, UK, Germany, and Italy.
Organic vs. Non-organic foods - What are people buying and why?
A recent Bryter survey among 11,075 global consumers in the US, Canada, Brazil, UK, Germany, and Italy found 69% of respondents globally believe that locally grown products provide health and wellness benefits. But we see some cultural differences here: this sentiment is significantly higher in Brazil (where a whopping 86% agree) and the US (72%). In contrast, respondents in the UK (60%) and Germany (61%) are less likely to be convinced.
Globally, another 57% of respondents think that organically grown food is much more nutritious and healthier than its non-organic counterpart. Brazil remains the most ardent advocate of the benefits of organic food (86%), whereas German respondents maintain their doubts (47%).
Indeed, while it's true that organic farming methods, which limit the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, can be better for the environment, the correlation between "organic" and "healthier" is not as straightforward. For instance, the American Dietetic Association states that organic food has the same nutritional value as its non-organic counterparts.
The "locally grown" preference also plays into a similar narrative. Consumers often believe local produce is fresher, more nutritious, and less carbon-intensive due to shorter supply chains.
Food fads into the mainstream
In recent years, certain "food fads" have not only gained popularity but also made their way into the mainstream and influenced consumer habits. Kombucha, a fermented tea rich in probiotics, and cultured dairy products have charted a path from the fringes of the food world to supermarket shelves across the globe.
The findings in our survey underline this phenomenon: 57% of consumers globally think that fermented foods (e.g., kombucha and cultured yogurt) are “very good for you”. Once again, Brazil leads this sentiment (67%) compared to the other markets.
These fads have gained popularity due to the rising consumer interest in "functional foods" – foods that provide benefits beyond basic nutrition. But for modern, health-conscious consumers, the preoccupation with health and wellness extends further than fad or novel foods. There is an interest in everyday food items being fortified with extra vitamins and supplements. In our survey, 51% agreed that everyday food items like bread and milk should have extra vitamins and supplements added to make them healthier. Again, Brazil registers the highest approval (72%) and Germany expresses the least enthusiasm (29%).
Additionally, 47% of those surveyed believe that superfoods are essential to being healthy. Brazil, yet again, leads this perspective with 65% of its participants, whereas Germany remains skeptical with only 30% agreement.
While these foods can contribute to a healthy diet, the scientific community often stresses that they should not replace a balanced, varied diet. As with locally grown and organic foods, there's a need for education about food fads. In an era of information overload, it's crucial to separate facts from hype and make food choices based on evidence.
At Bryter, we research a diverse range of consumer audiences to assist companies in understanding the factors shaping and influencing consumer behavior concerning what foods, vitamins, and supplements they buy. If you're looking to better understand your market and launch successful products in this space, don't hesitate to reach out and see how we can help.
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