Europeans Want Snacks Free From Additives

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01 Nov 2016 --- The European snacks market is worth more than 14 billion euros – and counting. Research from a recent pan-European consumer survey by the GNT Group found that two thirds of Europeans reach for crisps, nuts and savory nibbles at least once a week and 11% eat them as often as several times a day. 

The research also found out that not only the brand name and a low price, which interest 48% and 41% respectively, are important. Even though – or possibly because – crisps and the like are not the healthiest kind of snack to eat, natural ingredients are essential for more than one third of consumers (36%), and are actually even more important than the fat (34%) and calorie content (27%) or the organic status (11%).

When it comes to ingredients, consumers are particularly alert with regard to colorants. Colors are often used to give snacks red, orange, or yellow shades in order to trigger certain expectations of how a product will taste. Basically, Europeans agree Click to Enlargewith that, as many of them (25%) consider appearance to be a decisive criterion when buying snacks. But they do think that colors should be utterly natural. Otherwise, they back off: 47% of the Europeans try to avoid products containing additive colors as much as possible.

Consumers would pay more for snacks without additives
The fact that natural ingredients are of high importance is also reflected in consumers’ willingness to pay more. 45% would dig deeper into their pockets for salty snacks free from artificial colors and nearly as many would pay more for products without artificial flavorings or preservatives. Polish consumers, in particular, would like these to be banned from their snacks: 60% are willing to accept a higher price for crisps without artificial colors. This puts Poland in the lead when it comes to being prepared to pay more for products with natural colors, followed by Spain, Germany, France and the UK.

In comparison, other product qualities, such as locally obtained ingredients, fair trade, organic, vegetarian, kosher or halal have less impact on the acceptance of a higher price than freedom from additives – across all countries surveyed. In particular, it is women and elderly people who want their crisps and nuts to be natural.

“The added value of natural ingredients is something manufacturers should increasingly take into account. Consumers expect the absence of additives, even in foods that aren’t particularly associated with naturalness”, says Dr. Hendrik Hoeck, Managing Director of GNT Group. “Some producers are already rethinking their recipes and switching to alternatives. Still, according to our survey, what is available on the market right now seems to be not enough, as consumers are explicitly asking for more ‘clean’ snack products.”

When it comes to color, a solution preferred by consumers are concentrates from fruit and vegetables: nearly two thirds think it should become standard within the food industry to color products only with these natural alternatives.

As pioneer in using fruit and vegetable concentrates to color food, GNT offers an extensive range of shades for various snack products – from coated nuts or seasoned crisps to popcorn.

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