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Mintel: Consumers Value Nutrition Tips

CHICAGO — Consumers want a quick-and-easy way to identify products that are better for themselves and the environment, according to research firm Mintel.

About 40% of U.S. consumers say they look for symbols on the menu that denote an item is healthy, like a picture of a heart; and more than one-third (34%) of moms say they are spending more time than last year reading nutrition labels at the grocery store.

“Consumers are looking for shortcuts,” Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel’s director of innovation and insight, said in a presentation at the Food Marketing Institute Show in Dallas earlier this month.

If a product contains natural ingredients, they should be clearly explained on the package in an ingredient statement, she said. Method is doing just that with its Squeaky Green laundry detergent. The ingredient statement explains that the product contains “surfactants,” but then goes on to explain that they are derived from coconuts.

What’s more, retailers and manufactures need to understand “wellness” has a broad meaning to consumers.  It goes well beyond dieting.

Lynn DornblaserAs examples, Dornblaser (right) cited Kroger’s private-label “Wholesome@ Home-brand” chilled macaroni and cheese, and Physicians Formula Organicwear 100% natural origin mascara.

Consumers are looking for eco-friendly products. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of consumers said they bought a food/beverage with a claim on the package because they wanted to support brands that are helping the environment, according to a Mintel study.

Consumers respond well to products that are good to environment, but don’t require much of a change to their habits, she said.

Seventh Generation caters to such shoppers with its new Natural 4X Laundry Detergent, Dornblaser said. The product is packaged in a pouch located inside a bottle made from 100% recycled fiber. The entire packaging system (fiber bottle, pouch, spout and cap) uses 66% less plastic than a typical 100-ounce 2X laundry bottle — while delivering the same number of loads, according to Seventh Generation.

While it’s critical to tap into the wellness trend, retailers need to be careful not to overstep their bounds and come off as trying to tell consumers what to do.

“It’s important to be a partner with consumers; not a dictator,” she said.

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