Qualitative consumer research commissioned by functional ingredients manufacturer Beneo, reveals that consumers are increasingly aware of the benefits of low glycemic nutrition.
Carried out in the UK, Germany and Spain the research sought to gauge consumer knowledge and attitudes towards carbohydrates, sugars and low glycemic foods, as well as their role in blood sugar management.
‘Good’ vs. ‘bad’ carbohydrates
The results show that consumers are aware that carbohydrates provide essential fuel for the body. They are beginning to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ carbohydrates and understand that these carbohydrates have different effects on the body and blood glucose levels: with whole grain, fiber, complex carbohydrates as well as slowly digestible and slow-release carbohydrates seen as ‘good.’ The findings also show that consumers consider carbohydrates with a lower blood glucose response to be healthier.
Respondents confirmed their growing understanding of the differences amongst carbohydrates, with replies such as: “I think there are healthy and unhealthy carbohydrates... similar to saturated and unsaturated fats.” Others said: “Good carbs are burnt more slowly in the body and take more time to be turned into glucose” and “I know that there are slow-releasing carbohydrates, which keep energy levels up for longer.” Beneo’s qualitative findings support one of the key trend predictions for 2015 referring to ‘good carbs’ and ‘bad carbs’.
Lower blood sugar levels are regarded as beneficial
As well as gauging consumer understanding and attitudes towards carbohydrates, Beneo’s qualitative survey assessed consumer opinion on low glycemic foods and blood sugar management. The results show that consumers link a variety of long- and short-term benefits to lower rises in blood sugar levels. Participants commented on the fact that low blood sugar levels “make you feel nourished and satisfied for longer.” Also benefits, such as “good for weight management,” “disease prevention,” or “fewer cravings” were relevant for consumers.
Here is some of the respondent feedback on the benefits of balanced blood sugar levels:
- “Low glycemic foods would keep you going for longer.” (UK participant)
- “If a person’s blood sugar levels don’t rise that much, then there are probably fewer cravings when their blood sugar level falls.” (UK participant)
- “I think low glycemic nutrition is healthier because then the person will not store as much fat.” (German participant)
- “I think that the best thing is to start the day with a low GI breakfast. Having a healthy diet, with less sugar, is the best way to prevent future health issues.” (Spanish participant)
Myriam Snaet, Manager Market Intelligence & Consumer Insights at Beneo: “These results clearly show that shoppers are starting to understand the benefits of balanced blood sugar levels. Manufacturers need to begin to think about how they can make the most of this growing understanding through the development of consumer-relevant, low glycemic food and drink products.”
 Qualitative Survey carried out online with at least 30 participants per country over 2.5 week period during September – November 2014.