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Own label products making healthier food claims reach a five-year high

| International retailers

With the hype around healthy eating continuing to grow, it seems supermarkets have reached new levels in stocking their shelves to appeal to a healthier appetite. Indeed, new research from Mintel reveals that the share of own label food products launched carrying a ‘better-for-you’ claim reached a five-year high in 2014.

The research found that 6.6% of own label products launched in 2014 carried a low, no, or reduced fat claim, up from 5.9% in 2010, whilst slimming claims also saw growth, with their share rising from 1.3% to 4% in the same time period. Moreover, the proportion of own label products featuring a low, no, or reduced calorie claim rose from 1% in 2010 to 1.8% in 2014.

Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst at Mintel, said: “Claims which are most commonly associated with weight management such as low, no or reduced fat, slimming, calorie and sugar, became more prevalent in own-label food launches in 2014. In fact, the share that these four claims held of new own label products entering the food market reached a five-year high in 2014. This uptick in better-for-you new product development activity is likely to stem from supermarkets’ pledges to encourage healthier eating under the government’s Responsibility Deal, as well as a desire to boost their reputations as socially responsible.”

And it seems that this rise in own label products carrying better-for-you claims is a development UK consumers have a hunger for. Indeed, 63% of Brits consider the healthiness of products when choosing food for use at home, with this being considered more important than low cost (59%). Furthermore, the healthiness of food is the second most important consideration for shoppers, with taste being considered important for 89% of consumers.

Furthermore, Mintel’s research shows that there is appetite from consumers for particular claims. 59% of Brits say that when purchasing food to use at home they look for items that contribute to their 5-a-day, whilst 53% look for items containing low levels of saturated fat and 51% look for low sugar content. Additionally, 45% of Brits look to buy items with a low calorie content and 43% look for products high in protein.

“These results illustrate the widespread appeal of these health claims and their influence over shoppers’ choice of product. Despite retailers focusing more attention on these claims in their new product development in 2014, there still appears to be a significant gap between the high demand for products which are low in fat, sugar and calories and the level of new product development activity,” Clifford added.

In particular, despite 51% of UK consumers looking for products with a low sugar content, just 1.6% of own-brand food launches in 2014 featured a low, no or reduced sugar claim. Indeed, branded products seem to hold the clear lead in this respect with 6.6% of branded launches featuring this claim in 2014, up from 6% in 2013. This comes off the back of Mintel research recently released which found that 46% of Brits have taken at least once course of action to monitor or reduce their sugar intake in the last year.

Clifford concludes: “The low level of activity from own-label is despite the dangers attached to consuming too much sugar rarely being out of the media spotlight in 2014. The high-profile debate put this issue firmly on people’s radars and the time is ripe for innovation cenetring on low, no, or reduced sugar.”

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