March 13, 2023
From Vegconomist

For millennia, humans have been using ingredients for a variety of purposes – to enhance the functionality, texture, flavour, nutrition, preservation, and appearance of food. But not all ingredients are accepted equally, as a new ProVeg International article uncovers.

ProVeg examines how much consumers care about food ingredients, and where they look for information. The article is the first instalment in a ProVeg Ingredients Spotlight series that focuses on understanding and incorporating consumer attitudes to different ingredients to drive plant-based product sales. 

© Harvest B

Certainly, misconceptions, misinformation, and biases run wild in the food ingredients space, causing consumers to boycott certain ingredients and rave about others. Even the names of ingredients and how they are displayed on packaging or talked about by the media can make a big difference in whether we buy a food product or pass it by.

Not surprisingly, almost two-thirds (63%) of adults say the ingredients in a food or beverage have at least a moderate influence on whether they buy it. Research shows that some consumers believe that certain plant-based ingredients are:

  • Highly processed, and as a result, are not as ‘clean’ or ‘natural’ as those used in meat and dairy products
  • Bad for health
  • Poor tasting
  • Damaging to the environment
Choc balls courtesy ProVeg
Image courtesy ProVeg International

How are food manufacturers and brands reacting?

As a result of consumer aversion to ‘undesirable’ or unfamiliar ingredients, food manufacturers are moving away from some plant-based ingredients. For example, in recent years, we have seen an increasing number of palm oil-free food products on shelves, proudly featuring labels that declare this fact. 

However, obtaining the same functionality and taste can require the addition of multiple new ingredients, giving rise to clean label and ingredient list length considerations for many producers. 

To learn more about ingredient considerations and how to target plant-forward consumers, read the full article, and get in touch with ProVeg at [email protected].