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‘Natural’ foods equal ‘healthy’ in older consumers' minds

20 August 2014

A new survey by Canadean finds that consumers aged 55 and older associate ‘natural’ products with a healthy, yet tasty, lifestyle and diet. 

The survey of 2000 UK consumers finds that 38% of those aged 55 and older are looking for ‘natural’ food choices. According to Canadean, this is due to older consumers growing more mindful of their health and well-being: 60% of those who look for natural foods also describe themselves as seeking healthier food options. Catherine O’Connor, analyst at Canadean, says: “Older consumers often see ‘natural’ as a byword for ‘organic’, ‘healthy’, ‘fresh’ and ‘wholesome’. However, there are no regulatory criteria when it comes to the term ‘natural’, which leaves manufacturers more open to put the label ‘natural’ on their product.”

By contrast, products which claim to be ‘organic’ have to be produced using organic methods of farming which promote ecological balance, conserve biodiversity and do not allow for synthetic pesticides or additives. Similarly, in order to claim to be ‘healthy’, a product has to contain a reduced amount of ‘bad’ ingredients, such as using natural sweeteners in place of sugar or by reducing saturated fat content. O’Connor adds: “When we asked consumers about their dietary habits, we purposely avoided defining the term ‘natural’, meaning that the respondents were defining it for themselves. The resulting overlap in the use of the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ proves that many consumers are confused about the exact meaning of those labels.”

According to Canadean data, the desire for ‘natural’ foods also results from older consumers’ search for quality. O’Connor concludes: “Products marketed as ‘natural’ are currently more successful among older consumers than products featuring more explicit health claims. This is because older consumers think that ‘natural’ products are made with care and craftsmanship, whereas they fear that foods marketed around health alone may involve a sacrifice in taste that they are not eager to make.”

 

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Editor’s notes

Consumer attitude findings are based on Canadean’s July 2014 survey of 2000 consumers in the UK.

Old Consumer Food

Many older consumers think that 'natural' means the same as 'organic' when they shop for healthy foods. 

For further information

Please get in contact if you have any questions to this or other Canadean reports. Contact the Canadean press office on +44 (0) 20 3220 0815 or email press@canadean.com

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