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Mintel: Consumers avoid total sugars more than specific types when choosing food, beverages

BY Jason Owen

WASHINGTON — Consumers avoid total sugars more than they avoid any specific sweetener, according to a new brand-level consumer attitudes and behavior study about food and beverages from Mintel Research Consultancy on behalf of the Corn Refiners Association.

Approximately a quarter of soda, yogurt and bread brand purchasers (between 17 and 26%) say they are looking to reduce total sugars in their diet. In contrast, a nominal 1-5% of consumers purchasing these items cite avoiding a specific sweetener, such as high fructose corn syrup.

“These findings directly contradict the unfounded buzz around specific sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup,” said Sara Martens, consumer research expert and vice president of The MSR Group. “Consumers aren’t responding to product formulation or menu item adjustments based on specific sweetening ingredients, and food and beverage industry decision-makers should consider this before investing in costly modifications.”

The study explored 34 brands across 13 of the highest-volume food and beverage categories, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Yoplait, Dannon, Nature’s Own and Sara Lee. The findings align with previous Mintel research examining consumer attitudes and behaviors around food and beverage ingredients both broadly and at the category level.

“Looking at the series of research Mintel has conducted during the last two years, we see that regardless of how finely you slice the data, consumer concern remains more focused on total sugars than any specific type,” said Martens. “And regardless of what consumers say they are trying to avoid, it doesn’t translate into purchase behavior.”

The survey explored label reading and avoidance among 2,400 primary household grocery shoppers. As was the methodology for all prior studies, unaided questioning delivered unprompted, top-of-mind opinions and statements to capture truest consumer attitudes and most likely behaviors. Unaided questions were used in combination with aided questions to allow for additional probing of key topics.

Fact sheets and an infographic from the consumer study are available to view online.


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Ahold chains donate more than $4 million to schools, military-support groups

BY Alaric DeArment

CARLISLE, Pa. — Ahold USA’s supermarket banners have donated more than $4 million to charitable causes over the past week.

Last Friday, Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pa., also known as Giant-Carlisle, announced a $517,535 donation through its annual Support Our Troops campaign, which benefits regional USO chapters in the area where Giant has stores, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia and parts of Virginia and Maryland.

Giant Food of Landover, Md., often called Giant-Landover to distinguish it from Giant-Carlisle, is donating nearly $2 million to 2,081 schools in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and the District of Columbia through the A+ School Rewards program, now in its 25th year.

Meanwhile, Stop & Shop has donated more than $1.5 million to schools in New England, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.


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Campbell finalizes acquisition of Plum Organics

BY Jason Owen

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Co. today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Plum Organics, a provider of organic foods and snacks that serve the nutritional needs of babies, toddlers and children. Plum is the No. 2 brand of organic baby food in the United States and is currently the No. 4 baby food brand overall, according to the company. Plum Organics generated $93 million in gross sales for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012.

"We are thrilled to welcome the Plum brand, its people and its quality products to Campbell. Plum is generating great success in the marketplace, and we believe that Campbell’s resources will help fuel further expansion of the Plum brand within the fast-growing premium, organic food segment," said Mark Alexander, president, Campbell North America.

Campbell will operate Plum as a standalone business within its Campbell North America division. Senior members of Plum Organics’ management team, including co-founder and president Neil Grimmer, will continue to lead Plum and its mission-driven culture from its headquarters in Emeryville, Calif. Grimmer will report to Alexander.


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