Nielsen’s latest Homescan Shopper Health Survey found that half of American households prioritize finding products that are “free from artificial ingredients” when grocery shopping.
Using the Product Insider tool, Nielsen also found that shoppers spent $18 billion on products that clearly advertised a lack of artificial colors on their packaging.
The findings converge to unmask a potential misuse of resources for manufacturers that are looking to target health-conscious shoppers as well as an upcoming obstacle that will shake up a significant portion of the industry.
Only 7% of products that fit the bill displayed that they were artificial color-free.
If all of the products that could have done this were also counted, then the total sales numbers would reach about $240 billion.
“What we’ve seen is that the absence of undesirable ingredients is more important than the inclusion of beneficial ones,” Andrew Mandzy (left), director of strategic insights of health and wellness at Nielsen, said.
Nielsen’s research showed that 8% of American households follow low calorie diets, but Mandzy pointed out that the balance of ingredients often outweighs the significance of caloric data.
He suggested that items that can advertise the ingredients which it does not have should be taking advantage of every opportunity to do so.
This includes items that may have previously relied on a low calorie count to draw sales from health-conscious shoppers
The flip side of the coin is handling the marketing of ingredients that are not absent and Mandzy said impending nutrition label changes rank among Nielsen’s clients’ “biggest concerns.”
The FDA will be rolling out new rules in July 2018 that hamper manufacturers’ ability to hide ingredients behind a cloak of synonyms.
Nielsen found that 22% of Americans are trying to decrease their sugar intake and utilizing the product data refinery platform Label Insight, it determined that 206 variations of high fructose corn syrup could be listed on an ingredient panel.
Next summer, labels will have to clearly print “includes X g Added Sugars” directly beneath the listing for “Total Sugars,” according to FDA.gov.
The plain, numerical description will add transparency to products that may alter the opinion of even established consumers who once regularly purchased them.
“Consumers care about sugar content,” Mandzy said while discussing snacks like granola bars, which can contain a deceptive amount of added sugar. “Either consumers will buy less of the category, they’ll shift their brand, or just leave the category all together.”