Clean eaters can accept processed foods

KANSAS CITY — Consumer concerns have evolved over the past five years from primarily wanting to know what’s in a product to a more holistic view of how a product affects the planet, animals and consumer health, in terms of to research from HealthFocus International, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Julie Johnson, president of HealthFocus International, called it a shift from clean eating to clean mindful eating in 23 Aug. Webinar produced Food business news. Processed foods may have a place in mindful eating.

“But there is also a positive side to the consumer view of food processing that involves the use of science and technology in food and drink production,” Ms Johnson said. “What may have been a little foreign and a little scary to people, consumers may generally accept if they understand what technological advances in manufacturing can actually bring them.”

A 2023 study by HealthFocus International asked consumers in the United States how acceptable they would find the use of science and technology in food and beverage production if it could improve the product in some way. The responses were 64% in favor of the product being free of unwanted ingredients such as antibiotics and hormones, 63% in favor of supporting food security such as reliable access to affordable and nutritious food, 59% in favor of the product being more ethical, with animal welfare being an example and 58% for the product to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“Unrecognizable ingredients have actually become less evil in recent years, assuming they can provide something that makes them necessary,” Ms Johnson said. “They can’t arbitrarily add them to a product and then people will accept them more. It has to promote some kind of benefit or be there for a reason.”

Interest in clean eating has fallen, she said.

“This is mainly because the preferences and interests of what the consumer wants from food and drink have become much more comprehensive in recent times,” Ms Johnson said.

Research by HealthFocus International found that 52% of respondents said they read food labels in 2022, the same percentage as in 2018 and down from 63% in 2014. Percentage of consumers who said it was extremely or very important important that products have no artificial sweeteners was 47% in 2022, down from 52% in 2018. Percentages with no artificial colors or flavors also decreased, to 45% in 2022 from 48% in 2018, and preservative-free to 43% in 2022 from 51%. in 2018.

HealthFocus International also found that 45% of respondents in 2022 said it was extremely important or very important to know what is in a product, up from 34% in 2020. Thirty-two percent in 2022 said it was extremely important or very important they know if a brand supports regenerative agriculture and soil health, up from 20% in 2020. When asked if they want to know the story behind brands, 37% said yes in 2022, up from 28% in 2020.

Ms. Johnson cited One Degree Organic Foods’ gluten-free roasted cocoa products as an example of providing on-pack information that consumers want to know. With a QR code on the front of the package, consumers can trace the origin of all ingredients, including oat flour, brown rice, garbanzo beans and cocoa.

“These specifics aren’t necessarily important independently or even for what they are, but the idea is that a company isn’t afraid to say where everything in their package comes from, which in itself means they’re proud of it, or at least not they are ashamed. this,” she said.

Conscientious eaters may look favorably on this approach.

“In the last 15 years, purity has changed from what is in the product or what is not in the product – for example, no artificial substances, less processed, organic, natural, clean and recognizable – to what the product represents,” said Ms. Johnson. “It’s the same aspects of clean label, but it also includes ethical eating, personal connections, brand transparency and accountability, and sustainability. In fact, it goes from choices of pure label to choices of pure consciousness.”

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Elvira Parkinson

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