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29 April 2015

Quality and health beat taste

After 50 years the consumers’ purchasing priorities are changing.

An opinion poll carried out by AstraRicerce on a representative sample* of the Italian population between 18 and 65 years has found that healthy eating has overtaken taste when it comes to the factors driving consumers to make a purchase. This was the case for 51.9% of respondents, followed by 42.4% who still put flavour first and 5.7% for whom the most important factor in choosing a food product is how long it takes to prepare.
In the last fifty years we have been accustomed to seeing Italians’ traditional love of good food as being influenced primarily by factors related to pleasing the palate. This finding highlights a shift in attitudes that says a lot about what has happened in recent years and the growing attention being paid to food quality.
“We are what we eat” has become a mantra among nutritionists and food bloggers. The survey found that 62.1% of respondents love eating well and in 45.5% of cases eating makes people happy, but quality products that fall within the scope of what can be associated with health and wellness were preferred.
Variety was a significant factor when people discussed their diet (I like eating many types of foods – 62.4%; I vary my diet – 60.1%). Cooking was also important (I like to cook for myself and close friends – 48.4%). However, the impulse to only eat when necessary was rated lower (I only eat when I’m hungry – 21.7% and I eat just to survive – 4.4%).
A particularly striking result is that one Italian in four (24.8%) states they are increasingly worried about what they eat.
The choice of raw materials and ingredients is a highly significant factor influencing consumers at the moment of purchase (55.8%). This has overtaken historically larger concerns about price (48.7%) and even the influence of promotions, discounts and special offers (39.8%). But what are the foods that Italians prefer the most?
“Good” and “healthy” are terms that are now inextricably linked and this attitude has pushed the market towards foods that are consciously intended to promote good health and which are targeted primarily at women.
The concept of a healthy product is associated above all with the absence of additives (47.1%) followed by the presence of specific nutrients (30.2%) while the purely dietary / calorific value is relegated to last place.

* (1,007 online interviews, administered using the CAWI method (Computer Aided Web Interviewing)

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