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 pro-biotics 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, pro-biotic, 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 pro-biotic 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 pro-biotic 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 Italytakes the lead.
The greatest difference between China and other nations is seen when it comes to preference for pre- or pro-biotic 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.
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.
More information at http://www.gfk.com