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Monitor: Natural channel shoppers prioritize taste over nutrition

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Nevertheless, natural products consumers value ingredients, nutrition and sustainability more than all shoppers, according to a new survey.

Natural Products Industry Health Monitor, Jan. 20, 2023
 
As the world emerges from COVID-19, new challenges arise. In this feature, New Hope Network provides an ongoing update on those challenges and the opportunities they hold. Look for the Industry Health Monitor every other week to learn the major news that is affecting the natural products market immediately and the less obvious insights that could dictate where the market may struggle or thrive in the months to come.

There was a time when healthy eating and responsible shopping could feel like a penance. In those not-so-long ago days, walking through a natural food store was an exercise in compromise. If it was good for you, it couldn’t taste good. 

The natural product industry has happily moved past the era of macramé and deprivation. Just how far customers have proceeded—and how much taste matters—is clear in new research from New Hope’s NEXT Data & Insights.

 

Natural channel shoppers valued taste considerably more than all shoppers did, 58% to 44%. Natural products shoppers considered taste more important than ingredients, nutrition, health claims and sustainability, according to the survey of 1,000 consumers.

Other differences observed in the survey were less surprising. Natural shoppers were more likely than all shoppers to emphasize nutrition, health claims and sustainability values. Those are not particularly surprising findings, though the degree of difference can be remarkable. The percentage of natural channel shoppers citing health claims or sustainability values as criteria for buying new brands was twice as high as that of total shoppers, Brand familiarity was also remarkably higher, suggesting natural channel shoppers may be more brand loyal.

Obviously, the natural products industry figured this out a long time ago. If someone on the Natural Products Expo floor is selling wheat germ and other bland concoctions, they won’t lead with sacrificing taste. “Tastes good” and “good for you” are no longer opposing concepts in natural shoppers' minds.

“Natural” and “indulgence,” the survey tells us, can now occupy the same tagline.

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