Foods bearing “free-from” claims are increasingly relevant to Americans, as they perceive the products as closely tied to health. New research from Mintel reveals that 84 percent of American free-from consumers buy free-from foods because they are seeking out more natural or less processed foods. In fact, 43 percent of consumers agree that free-from foods are healthier than foods without a free-from claim, while another three in five believe the fewer ingredients a product has, the healthier it is (59 percent).
Among the top claims free-from consumers deem most important are trans fat-free (78 percent) and preservative-free (71 percent). GMO-free claims are also important to free-from consumers (58 percent), with 35 percent ranking it as one of their top three most important claims. In fact, interest in GMO-free foods (37 percent) among all consumers outweighs interest in foods free of soy (22 percent), nuts/peanuts (20 percent) and eggs (17 percent). Another popular claim for consumers is sodium-free (57 percent), with 40 percent listing it as one of their three most important claims.
“Fat-free may seem like a claim whose best days are behind it, but there is strong consumer interest in such free-from foods, especially trans fat-free, no doubt owing to widespread concern about obesity in the US and its related health consequences. Health issues appear to be top of mind among US consumers when seeking products bearing a free-from claim, including those related to heart health and allergies,” said Billy Roberts, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. “Mintel data also shows elevated interest in the GMO-free claim, which ranks among the top four most important claims for many consumers and is more important than soy-free and nut/peanut-free foods.”
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