Consumers Fuzzy on Fortified, Functional Foods

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Consumers Fuzzy on Fortified, Functional Foods


While consumers have a strong desire to maintain a healthy diet, most aren’t sure what healthy eating entails and how they can apply it to their everyday lives.

A qualitative study conducted by Denver, Colo.-based iModerate Research Technologies investigates consumers’ perceptions about two nutritious food groups: functional foods that contain natural health benefits such as antioxidants in blueberries, and fortified foods like pastas that contain calcium and vitamins. The study found that a lack of available information in terms of what types of foods are healthy and what health benefits each of these foods offer prompt a major consumer challenge.

“People generally want to eat healthy and do what’s best for them and their family,” said Adam Rossow, VP of marketing at iModerate. “However, while consumers know some of the basics and what to stay away from, there is a tremendous lack of practical information and education that would help break down the barriers for them, inspire purchases and create a loyal following.”

The absence of prominent marketing by functional food producers notwithstanding, the study found additional barriers to purchasing and eating healthy foods which include personal taste, cost, spoilage, convenience and preparation. Consumers’ resistance to purchasing fortified foods is rooted in skepticism of the products’ health claims, the overconsumption of nutrients, as well as long-term health implications.

On behalf of manufacturers, growers and retailers, the study reveals significant opportunity for growth, including marketing health benefits more effectively and improving their products’ labeling and signage.

The study was comprised of one-on-one conversations and online responses from 81 consumers nationwide.