‘Confusion and fear’ underpin beverage naturalness trend: Mintel

'The Fear Factory': Fear and confusion beset the modern grocery shopper, Mintel says (Lyza/Flickr)

Confusion and fear of the unknown continue to drive interest in simplified product labels and natural ingredients, Mintel says.

Writing in a recent company blog post, Stephanie Pauk, Mintel’s global food science analyst, discusses Coca-Cola’s announcement that it will replace Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) by the end of 2014 – replacing it with sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB) and glycerol ester of rosin (E445)

BVO replacements await new EU risk assessment

SAIB (E444) in Europe is another emulsifier accepted as safe in the US and Europe, although both it and E445 are currently subject to a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) risk assessment – the agency is currently calling for data ahead of a routine re-evaluation of their safety in 2014/15.

BVO has been used for decades in the States as an emulsifier and Pauk notes that the synthetic ingredient has been particularly common in citrus based soft drinks to distribute oil-based flavors.

But the ban on its food additive use in Japan and Europe raised questions in the minds of US consumers about its safety; nonetheless, since 2010 there have been less than 200 product launches with BVO since 2010 according to Mintel.

64% of these were in the US, 17% in Canada and 9% in Mexico.

Factory fear strikes! Consumers wary about what’s in food

Glossing what Mintel calls the trend towards ‘Factory Fear’, Pauk said consumers were increasingly wary of what was in food – with 54% of US men and 65% of women claiming to read nutritional or ingredient labels before buying products.

But she says consumers are also overwhelmed by the information they do have – 64% think food health claims are confusing, 29% think claims are hard to find and only 28% trust what companies do say on food labels.

What is clear is that – given Mintel data – the trend towards global food and beverage launches on a natural platform has seen a slight upswing since 2010.

The top three countries for launches on a no additives or preservatives platform are the UK (29% of launches), the US and India (both on 19%), Pauk writes on the Mintel blog.

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