GlobalData: New unpronounceable ingredients are leaving consumers confused

Gone are the days where whey powder was considered an exotic ingredient. Recently consumers have been exposed to a multitude of ingredients options leading to ingredients overload where consumers can’t keep up in a time where they are looking for simplicity and real ingredients in their purchase decisions.

According to a 2019 Q3 GlobalData Global Consumer Survey, consumers are confused by unpronounceable ingredients. When asked their opinions on various trendy food items, including kombucha, xylitol and duckweed, a respective 49%, 43% and 50% claimed that they were not familiar with the ingredient. Lotus seeds saw 43% of consumers unsure, while CBD was at 37%, Guarana at 33% and Creatine at 24%. Other ingredients that lacked familiarity included agave syrup (26%) and insect protein (36%).

Yamina Tsalamlal, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, commented:

Consumers are experiencing an ingredients overload, with so many new ingredients being introduced that it is hard to keep up. And each claims to be better than the previous.

So called ‘miracle ingredients’ that consumers can’t pronounce are not new to the foodscape - chia seeds and acai for example. But things are changing as consumers want simple and real ingredients.”

GlobalData’s survey also reveals that 62% of respondents associate the word ‘natural’ with real ingredients. And with the natural diet, comes a food culture that is about being ‘free from’ ingredients such as gluten-free, dairy-free and meat-free.

Tsalamlal continued:

Overall, consumer culture is about slowing down and embracing a simpler life: ‘clean’ eating, digital detoxes, slow fashion, coffee shops with filtered coffee. This is where brands experience a dilemma. Consumers want innovation and enjoy trying new products, but they also want to feel like they’re eating ‘real’ food - and not a list of ingredients they don’t understand. An ingredient called ‘xylitol’ might be all-natural and claimed to provide health benefits, but to the average person it looks like an element from the periodic table.

Consumers aren’t going to buy products they don’t trust. Brands need to understand the value of transparency and clear communication of product labels particularly because consumers are paying close attention to what they’re eating and the impact their consumer choices are having on their health and the environment.”

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