Health benefits do increase the appeal of established brands and generate added value. These are the preliminary findings of the latest consumer research into shopping behavior related to ingredients and perceived benefits, carried out by BENEO-Orafti using a representative sample of adults in both Spain and the UK. Results covering further European countries and the US will be released shortly.
In each country, a range of applications was put to the test. For example, a leading Spanish fruit juice with an added health benefit based on Orafti® ingredients would still be chosen by 88% of the respondents even if it cost more than the standard product, and 91% of existing regular users would pay the premium.
Apart from demonstrating the worth consumers place on health benefits in terms of monetary value, the study also found that there is a gap between interest levels in ingredients and the health benefits they offer. Although consumers might know the names of key ingredients such as vitamin C, calcium, wholegrain or prebiotics, they do not necessarily equate these names with the key health benefits the ingredients provide. By communicating more about the health benefits over and above the names of the ingredients included in the product, manufacturers can add significant value to already premium brands.
The gap between interest levels in ingredients and the health benefits they offer can be seen in the excerpt from the research shown below. It correlates some of the top ingredients and benefits as rated by UK consumers on a ten point scale. A score of 10 is very appealing:
Benefits - Builds stronger bone (8.01)
Ingredients - Calcium (7.61)
Benefits - Boosts the friendly bacteria in your digestive system (7.95)
Ingredients - Prebiotic (5.88)
Benefits - Lowers cholesterol (7.86)
Ingredients - Plant stanols (4.70)
Consumers do not necessarily equate an ingredient with the benefit offered.
Likewise, the data demonstrates that for consumers, the health claims of a product are even more important than the ingredients. In addition to ingredients meaning less to consumers than their benefits, the study also found that the benefits in which people were most interested varied by gender rather than by country.
In both the UK and Spain, heart health, strong bones and a healthy digestive system were the top three rated benefits.
Stronger bones, a healthy digestive system, improved natural defenses, improved regularity and weight management are all benefits closely associated with Orafti® ingredients and especially with Orafti®Synergy1. Human intervention studies have shown that inulin and oligofructose can enhance health in all these important ways.
Added value generation
By providing respondents with key existing brands and asking them to rate various health benefits put onto the packaging, the survey has highlighted that there are key desirable benefits for the cereal, yogurt and beverage aisles for which customers are prepared to pay a premium. Following are the results demonstrating the value-added potential of key health claims on packaging for fruit juices, as an example.
A leading dairy and fruit juice drink enriched with vitamins A, C and E was put through its paces, and it was found that a calcium absorption benefit was significantly more appealing than other benefits. 45% of respondents chose the product with calcium absorption benefit as their first choice and the one that they would be most likely to buy. Of those who chose the leading brand with the calcium absorption benefit, 88% would still choose it even if it cost more than the standard product and 91% of existing regular users would pay the premium.
Benefits for food manufacturers
Dominic Speleers, Managing Director of BENEO-Orafti commented: "This latest study is just another example of BENEO-Orafti's commitment to investing in consumer research to best support our partners. The results of the preliminary study in the UK and Spain show that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution in these countries and that the most potential in a given category and for a given brand depends on many factors. Not only has this new consumer research provided BENEO-Orafti with a valuable consumer insight tool that is helping the company plan future product developments, but it can also be used by the company's business partners to develop attractive food concepts that appeal to the consumer and that are easily understood."
Notes to Editors:
A decade of research
BENEO-Orafti's 2008 consumer insight study is the 15th piece of consumer research commissioned by the company over the past decade. BENEO-Orafti's consumer expertise currently spans 4 continents and 14 different countries and has been carried out both quantatively and qualitatively. This, coupled with scientific knowledge, has allowed BENEO-Orafti to develop a key strength in the translation of science into consumer friendly language which enables the successful marketing of functional consumer products.
BENEO-Orafti is part of the BENEO-Group, a division of the Südzucker Group that specializes in functional ingredients. BENEO-Orafti is the world leader in the production and sale of food ingredients derived from chicory. The company's Orafti® inulin and oligofructose products have been scientifically proven to improve the balance of the body's intestinal flora by stimulating its own beneficial bifidobacteria, helping the body to absorb more essential nutrients, such as calcium, from the diet.
Orafti® ingredients can be the basis for well-balanced food products that improve digestive health and the feeling of well-being. With a head office in Tienen, Belgium, BENEO-Orafti operates in more than 75 countries and has production units in Oreye (Belgium) and Pemuco (Chile).