The Belgian firm that is part of the Sudzucker-owned Beneo Group, said polls in the UK, Spain and France at the time the recession was taking hold about a year ago indicated consumers demonstrated loyalty to premium brands that could deliver healthy benefits.
Recent surveys of 1000 women and men in Germany and a 1000 men and women in the US backed the findings.
Asked to rate various ingredients, consumers listed ‘protects your heart’, ‘keeps your digestive system healthy’ and ‘reinforces natural defences’ along with calcium absorption most highly.
“The results show that there is still a strong and very profitable market for those looking who create relevant functional foods,” said Tim Van der Schraelen, Beneo-Orafti marketing and communication manager.
“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 a wide range of potential consumers.”
The firm noted a New Nutrition Business prediction for 2009 that if consumers could feel the benefit they thought represented value for money they would be willing to pay the premium attached.
Part of Beneo’s survey sought to discover how calcium translated into product purchases. In Germany, a calcium claim made a yoghurt product more purchasable for 66 per cent of regular, occasional and non users – at a price premium.
In the US, 79 per cent of all respondents were more likely to buy a well-known cereal product that had a suggestion of a calcium benefit – with 60 per cent prepared to pay more.
Digestive and bone health
In Germany and the US, ‘keeping a digestive system healthy’ rated as one of the top four benefits for both men and women, with cereals a popular format. Seventy per cent of Germans polled would pay a premium for a well-known cereal brand with a digestive health benefit; 67 per cent would buy a functional cereal over a non-functional product.
About 80 per cent of US shoppers would prefer a product with bone messaging with 60 per cent prepared to pay more for that product.
Americans were interested in digestive health claims on non-traditional products such as cereal bars and fruit juices.