More health claims increase sales, study finds

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Products offering more than one health claim are more attractive to
consumers and this could translate into a 20 per cent sales boost,
a study in Germany has found.

The online survey, commissioned by National Starch, tested consumer perception on a leading brand of bread, nutrition bars and cereal, and how the appeal of the product was altered with the addition of a claim, such as "increases dietary fibre intake." A total of 1,007 men and women aged between 25 and 65 were sampled, with a total of fifteen claim combinations tested. These comprised of the following five claims: "increases dietary fibre intake," "promotes a healthy digestive system", "helps to control blood sugar highs," "provides a balance of energy" and "delivers prebiotic properties." The survey found an "increases dietary fibre intake" claim was seen as relevant across all product categories. The study found that corn flakes are perceived to benefit most from the claims "increases dietary fibre intake" and "helps to control blood sugar highs", as these qualities are considered relevant to consumer needs, researchers from Consumer View said. For nutrition bars, the combination of "increases dietary fibre intake" and "promotes a healthy digestive system" was found to have the greatest impact on consumers. White sliced bread was found to benefit significantly from any of the suggested claim combinations, such as "increases dietary fibre intake and promotes a healthy digestive system". The findings suggest that the frequency of consumption of bread offering proven health claims would increase by 10-26 per cent compared with a standard white loaf. The study found that the least popular claim among consumers was "delivers prebiotic properties." has not seen the full results. The European Commission is currently in the process of drawing up a list of approved wording for health claims on food products, which was introduced under Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. National Starch marketing manager Dr. Antje Baumgarten said: "Claim combinations offer manufacturers a valuable means of differentiation. The research confirms that consumers, and particularly frequent users, are more likely to perceive foods bearing a brand-compatible claim combination as unique. "As a result, they are more inclined to purchase foods that offer added health benefits. We can help manufacturers customise recipes to achieve the optimum combination of health claims for their customers." ​ The study will be used by National Starch to help it advise customers on the most effective use of nutritional claims in the positioning of foods and beverages to optimise consumer appeal.

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