European food manufacturers need to engage more with consumers to encourage healthier lifestyles and sustainability choices, a report suggests.

The study, compiled by the EU-supported EIT Food based on a survey of more than 19,000 people across Europe, found 44% considered the food they consume to be healthy, while only 36% thought the food they eat was good for the planet.

Hovering near a 50-50 split, when it comes to making food choices in terms of the potential environmental impact, 49% took that aspect into account, up a tad from 48% in 2022 but down from 51% in each of the previous two years.

The proportion of people pursuing a sustainable diet dropped to 71%, compared to 78% in the opening year of the current decade.

Sofia Kuhn, EIT Food’s director of public insights, said: “The food sector has faced unprecedented challenges in recent years and will continue to do so as climate change takes its toll on food production.

“Now, more than ever, we need partnership between the food sector and Europe’s citizens if we are to create a healthier and more sustainable food system for everyone.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

“To achieve this, we need to understand and work with consumers to foster trust and engagement in embracing food innovations and making conscious choices about what to eat.” 

Conducted in 18 European countries, the survey found 34% of consumers were open to trying new food products outside of their normal diets, although that differed by age group.

In the 18- to 34-year-old age bracket, 44% said they were receptive to new product innovation, while the figure fell to 24% for those of 55 years and upward.

The food industry “needs to operate with honesty, transparency, trust and openness”, the report suggested, as Belgium-based EIT Food found 46% of consumers trusted food manufacturers, compared to 48% in 2021.

Trust, defined by EIT Food as relating to taste, safety, health, authenticity and sustainability in the European food system, had also fallen in respect to food-related government agencies to 45% from 48%.

The report was led by EIT Food’s Consumer Observatory, which aims to foster a transformation to a healthier, more sustainable and resilient food system.

Klaus Grunert, a professor of marketing at Aarhus University in Denmark who heads up the Observatory, said: “Consumers need to be able to trust that the food they eat is both good for them, and good for the planet.

“If we are to support people to make long-term changes to how they eat we need the food sector to work with consumers to provide better information, options and access for diets that are healthy, nutritious and sustainable, while being affordable and inclusive for everyone.”