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While food and beverage products may contain different vitamins, minerals and supplements, consumers value most those products that are a good source of vitamins.
This is the latest finding from a global study conducted by Ipsos Marketing, in which consumers from around the world were given a list of vitamins, minerals and supplements that could be found in food and beverage products and asked to rank which ones were most important for them to include in their diets.
Vitamins were ranked highest in importance among global consumers, with protein, minerals, fiber, omega-3 and antioxidants lagging behind. Probiotics, soy and folic acid were least important among the general population.
It may at first glance seem that the health benefits of vitamins are old news. But recent discoveries about vitamins may boost consumer perceptions around food and beverage products that contain specific vitamins.
“Recent scientific breakthroughs about the potential of vitamins to prevent and alleviate serious health conditions will open doors to innovation for food and beverage companies,” said Lauren Demar, global CEO of Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods and Shopper. “For example, while consumers may traditionally link vitamin D to bone health, there is mounting evidence that vitamin D may have a positive impact on a wide range of health issues, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes, to name a few. It is therefore imperative for food and beverage marketers to stay on top of the latest breakthroughs in health and wellness from the scientific community, and then find ways to translate these breakthroughs into viable innovation and communication platforms.”
Demar continued: “Beyond product innovation, food and beverage marketers need to think hard about how they will market products that offer new potential benefits of vitamins. Issues such as consumer education, reasons to believe and preservation of the fundamental attributes of taste and convenience must be addressed. There’s also the issue of how the competitive set for products with added vitamins and nutrients will evolve over time. Will such products continue to compete with other products in the category, as they do today, but with the added POD of enhanced health benefits? Or will there be a point when the health benefits become the key driver of choice, and the product itself is just a carrier for these benefits? In the latter case we would expect to see products with added vitamins become substitutes for each other over time, even when the products are from different categories. They could even become substitutes for vitamins themselves.”
Ipsos data indicates there are opportunities to market different nutrients and supplements to different consumer segments. For example, the perceived importance of vitamins and protein in one’s diet decreases with age; on the contrary, the perceived importance of omega-3 and antioxidants increases with age.
Differences between countries exist as well. Protein is more important to consumers in China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey than to consumers in other countries. Minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron are more important to consumers in Argentina, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Saudi Arabia than to their global counterparts.
“When innovating in the area of functional foods, it is important to look at demographic segments,” Demar concluded. “Consumers will have different needs based on their life stage, culture and environment as well as the nutritional products currently available to them.”
The study was conducted Jan. 14-24 among 18,829 adults age 18-64 in the United States and Canada, and age 16-64 in all other countries.
Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals.