Consumers demand natural, fresh food

September 18, 2013

DSM has published results of a consumer survey revealing that urban consumers buying pre-prepared foods are seeking fresh, natural flavors and dishes that taste as though they could be home cooked. The survey results from 5,000 urban consumers from around the world including the United States, Brazil, China, Poland, and Nigeria.

Revealing urban consumers’ taste preferences, attitudes, and behaviors, the survey data show that more than half (55%) believe a “fresh or natural” flavor is what makes the food they buy taste delicious. This was felt most strongly by urban consumers living in China (72%). Closely following, was “taste as if it were made at home” with respondents in Brazil saying this was the most important driver for delicious food (67%). These cravings for fresh-tasting, natural, or homemade tastes present something of a challenge for food producers in the face of consumer behavior, as nearly two-thirds (64%) of urban consumers report they are using the same or more processed food at home than they were three years ago.

Furthermore, the survey demonstrates how discerning consumers are when it comes to choosing foods. They will actively seek out food that meets their taste and health requirements with nearly half of those who check labels before buying foods globally, and 76% in China habitually checking labels for additives. Those who check labels are more likely to believe that a fresh and natural flavor is what makes food delicious when compared to those who don’t check labels (60% vs. 44%).

Survey data about what drives repeat purchases of processed or pre-prepared foods highlight the complexity of this challenge. Two-thirds (65%) of urban consumers cite “easy to use and prepare” as the key reason they buy pre-prepared food for the second time; half (50%) say a “very good taste” is their reason for repeat purchase. Only one-third (33%) of total survey respondents said that price is a factor in deciding to buy a processed or pre-prepared food again. Urban Americans are the most demanding when it comes to their processed and pre-prepared food purchase preferences: a very good taste (65%), easy to use and prepare (61%), and an economical price (47%) are all significant factors in their repurchase decisions.

Report (pdf)