miércoles, 10 de abril de 2013

Make sure it’s yoghurt: Product type not price key for probiotics

Italian consumers care more about having their probiotics in yoghurt form than they do about price, health claims and brand, according to new research.

A paper recently published in the Food Quality and Preference Journal analysed the probiotic preferences of 600 Italian consumers responsible for household food shopping. Yoghurt outdoes orange juice and biscuits.  The authors found that the base product was the most important factor for consumers in selecting probiotic food and drinks with a mean importance of 34%. Yoghurt was the most favoured product over orange juice and biscuits, the only other two forms analysed. The researchers found that surprisingly biscuits are preferred to orange juice; this could be because probiotic orange juice was not yet widespread in Italy. Apparently consumers deem products that are intrinsically healthy, such as yoghurt, as credible carriers of functional properties,” they added.

Prevention health claim: Brand was the next most treasured attribute (28%) for probiotics, followed by health claims (22%), while price was the least desired quality (16%).
For health claims, Study participants rated a prevention claim (prevents gastrointestinal illness risk) higher than a generic claim (contributes to general well-being) and a psychological claim (helps reduce intestinal symptoms). Concluding, consumers seem to prefer yoghurts of a familiar brand, with a regular price level and claims which prove disease reducing properties.

Consumer confusion: ¿What are functional foods?:  Consumers were still not very clear what functional foods really are, 16% of participants thought a functional food was a light or diet product, while 9.5% thought they were foods for people with dietary problems. There is no unique definition for functional foods, but a 2007 study by Niva said they are foods containing added, technologically developed ingredients with a specific health benefit. Almost a fifth of consumers said they had never consumed functional foods because they did not know their properties or were doubtful about potential benefits.
In Europe probiotic market decline after a recent health claim ban, Euromonitor International expects the European probiotic foods and supplements market to shrink €130m in the next five years from €5.13bn last year to about €5bn in 2017.

A recent health claim ban is seen as the likeliest culprit. Pre- and probiotic gut, immunity and other health claims– along with the very use of the terms pre- and probiotic – have been banned in the EU since December 14 last year.

Source: Oliver Nieburg, NUTRAingredients.   http://www.nutraingredients.com/content/view/print/760081

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