According to research conducted by Tate and Lyle, US consumers have a good understanding of what constitutes healthy eating but struggle to put those principles into practice, while across the pond European consumers have become increasingly aware of heath and diet issues over the past two years and increasingly cynical about company claims.

The research, which forms part of an ongoing international study, was undertaken by Tate & Lyle to enhance the effectiveness of their own long-term product development and to offer food and beverage manufacturers key insights into the consumer needs that drive their businesses.

In the US, 76% of those surveyed said that they wanted to eat more healthily but 56% of respondents agreed that it was difficult to eat healthily because of the options readily available to them.

“American consumers have a good understanding of what constitutes “healthy eating” yet there is a disconnect between what they know and believe and what they actually do in terms of eating,” said Harvey Chimoff, director of marketing, Americas, Tate & Lyle. 

“There are significant opportunities for food and beverage manufacturers to make more healthful versions of their products. While these new options must be convenient and readily available for consumers across purchase locations, they must also be as tasty as regular products.”

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In Europe, 66% of participants said that they were looking for ways to improve their diet. But, Tate and Lyle suggests, convenience is not the major issue for European consumers. The increased awareness of health issues has caused consumers to become sceptical about brand claims.  When asked, 65% of consumers agreed with the statement ‘often brands that claim to be healthy aren’t healthy at all’.
Although people are becoming more heath conscious, the majority of European consumers still rate taste as the most important factor determining consumption (42%), while one in three people (33%) argue that taste and health are equally important.

“People want to eat healthier diets but they want the full taste of indulgence brands. There is no room for compromise,” says Rachel Moffatt, European marketing manager at Tate & Lyle.