Americans are paying more attention to ingredients, looking for ‘clean,’ ‘natural’ options

Will Kreznick

A survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted early last monthly by IFIC also found most shoppers try to choose foods and beverages with “clean ingredients,” and avoid “chemical-sounding ingredient.” But what qualifies as a “clean ingredient” to consumers isn’t as clear cut or consistent, nor is where shoppers turn […]

A survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted early last monthly by IFIC also found most shoppers try to choose foods and beverages with “clean ingredients,” and avoid “chemical-sounding ingredient.”

But what qualifies as a “clean ingredient” to consumers isn’t as clear cut or consistent, nor is where shoppers turn for information about ingredients or why they actively seek or avoid certain ingredients, according to the survey.

More consumers consider ingredient lists

As consumers better understand the connection between nutrition and health, more shoppers are flipping over food and beverage packages to review Nutrition Facts panels and ingredient decks before selecting products.

According to IFIC, 66% of consumers surveyed say they strongly or somewhat agree that they pay more attention to ingredients on foods and beverages than they did five years ago, and nearly two out of three say that ingredients have at least a moderate influence on their purchase decisions.

The go-to source for this information by most consumers (62%) is the ingredient list, followed by information on the front of the package, which was cited by 52% of the shoppers surveyed by IFIC. Far fewer look for ingredient information on brand websites or social media accounts (20%), but their education level, age and income play a role with adults younger than 45, college degrees or who make more than $80,000 a year more likely to consult a company or brand than their counterparts, according to IFIC.

When reviewing ingredient decks, IFIC found slightly more than half – 58% — of consumers strongly or somewhat agree that they choose products with “clean ingredients whenever I grocery shop in person” and 56% strongly or somewhat agree that they avoid products with “chemical-sounding” ingredients.

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