Our grocery lists are changing: avocados travel halfway around the world to UK supermarkets (from Mexico, for the most part), we enjoy juicy fruit and veg year-round, even when they’re not in season, and a trend towards healthy eating is changing the way we think of nutrition. So how, exactly, are consumers’ grocery lists changing? We carried out a Consumer Research study to a national representative sample of British people, in charge of grocery shopping and between the ages of 18 and 54. This is what we learnt, so don’t miss out on the chance to streamline your marketing decisions with our full trend report.


Above all, it must taste good

Taste is the most important aspect that defines what brand consumers are going to buy. The other relevant aspects are price and quality.

And while some conscious consumers take sustainability into account in their buying habits, the majority are more interested in taste than whether the product is organic, or where it’s coming from. In fact, 80% of consumers in the UK aren’t ready to pay more for products labelled as eco or organic. This doesn’t mean that they’re not interested in staying healthy, with 5 of every 10 concerned about buying food that’s good for their health and paying attention to labelling that describes products as light.

Our research shows that light labels seem to be more successful and attention-grabbing than eco or organic: 48% of consumers buy light products, but only 19% are ready to pay extra for organic or eco products. Could this be because “light” seems to describe lighter and less calorically dense food? We can see here that the implication of being healthy is also associated with being slim, and campaigns capitalising on the “good for you and your figure” goal will see a higher response from consumers.

What else makes us think consumers are relatively health-conscious? They haven’t just reduced their intake of margarine after realising that palm oil can have a dire impact on health, but a series of other associated products (you’ll find the full list in our report, it’s quite extensive). Finally, 64% of consumers try to avoid buying fast food, while another 59% reduced the frequency in which they bought ready meals.


Traffic light labels help consumers make healthy choices

Consumers support industry-wide measures to disclose the nutritional information of food. 73% agree that a traffic light labelling system would affect their nutritional choices positively, as they’d take care to choose products that are overall indicated as being better for them.

There’s a vested section of consumers that are dedicated to making healthy choices, with 4 of every 10 looking at labels and the ingredient list of products they buy. But 3 of every 10 consumers have the feeling that they eat food that isn’t good for their health, despite trying to. Companies that are really dedicated to helping them make healthy choices will garner brownie points with those of us that strive to make health-conscious decisions.

Is this the end of deliciously unhealthy snacks?

We don’t think so, and 2 of every 10 consumers concur, they don’t pay attention to what they eat. But with the advancement of research into how nutrition affects our health and well-being, any food & beverage company should be aware of this major health trend, both on the side of legislation and consumers’ trends and habits. Healthy options are important, but more than anything, consumers value transparent and easy to read labelling. They can make healthy or more decadent choices themselves.

There are a few brands that are renowned as offering eco-friendly and healthy products, that stand out for the quality of their food safety practices: to find out more about them, check out the full report.