Kantar Worldpanel data shows almost two thirds of the UK adult population is overweight and the indirect cost of obesity to the UK economy is estimated at £27 billion. The importance of health is clear: to Government, to consumers, and increasingly, to retailers.
After years of focusing on salt and fat the UK Government has now committed to reducing consumers’ sugar intake. The investment is partly paying off: almost two thirds of households (62%) say they are very or fairly concerned about sugar consumption, higher than any other nutrient and up 41% on last year.
Among consumers, health is growing as a reason for purchase – 38% of meals now feature an ingredient specifically chosen for health reasons, a figure which has doubled since 1980. Retailers are taking a stronger stance on health, removing sweets from checkout lanes and reformulating their products.
For consumers most worried about their sugar intake, purchase levels of sugar-heavy products have fallen over the past year: regular carbonated drinks, for example, have seen purchase frequency fall by 12.7%, versus an 8.6% decline among total consumers.
Overall, consumers are buying less sugar in their take-home shopping, down 1.8% in the past year.
There are three key factors driving this decline:
- There has been a longterm fall in volume sales of packet sugar.
- Consumer concern about sugar has impacted sales of categories like biscuits and chocolate.
- Average sugar content has declined in markets including soft drinks, where ‘diet’ and low-fat options are taking a higher share of sales.
These categories have seen an array of product reformulation as manufacturers seek to mitigate the sugar backlash, resulting in positive nutritional change among consumers. Despite this overall decline in sugar consumption and falling sales of sugary goods, those consumers most concerned about their sugar intake spend £5 more per week on their groceries than the average shopper.
Source : Kantar Worldpanel