Health & Ethics Matter by Stella West- Harling

Customers want to improve their health, stats reveal.

According to an extended report recently commissioned and published by Nestle, as a result of 63% of the UK population being overweight or obese , money is to be made promoting and supplying healthy food options, both in hospitality and in retail.

Consumers want to improve their health and research by Footprint Intelligence revealed that consumer health is starting to be seen as part of foodservice’s ethical responsibility.

Reformulation offers the food industry one way to address this, and consumers are happy for food companies to change the recipe of products to make them healthier, as long as they still taste good.

Health and ethics are integral to sustainability credentials, and the increasing importance consumers are placing on sustainability is reflected in consumer purchasing patterns too. An international study by Unilever revealed that a third of consumers (33%) are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing good socially or environmentally. It estimates that a €966 billion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear.

Health matters to consumers. The FSA’s Consumer Tracker found that 55% of consumers said the amount of sugars, 45% the amount of salt, and 41% the amount of fat in food were issues of concern. Another survey found that, in the last year 50% of respondents said they had been on a diet and 46% had tried to be healthy. Salads are even overtaking fish and chips on pub menus.

Product renovation, reformulation and innovation provide the opportunity to make healthier choices more accessible and more widespread, giving the food industry the power to have a positive influence on consumer health.

Of course, it could be said by some that after years of feeding the UK population with sugar, salt, fat and preservatives, this is only another way of making money out of people who have suffered at their hands for years. This could be said to be like tobacco manufacturers supporting nicotine patches and vaping, or the notorious Drink Aware campaign to urge people to ‘drink responsibly.’

Stella West- Harling

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