Global FATitudes study finds consumers closely monitor fats, oils in packaged food

Most consumers (68%) across the world report closely monitoring the type and amount of fat and oil in their packaged food, according to a recent global FATitudes study from Cargill.

The study confirmed that consumers track what goes into their bodies by closely reading labels of packaged foods, with fat and oil type as strong purchase consideration factors.

FATitudes is a study conducted by Cargill each year to learn more about consumers’ awareness, perceptions and behaviors around fats and oils found in packaged foods, and to help inform the future of food innovation. This year, approximately 6,600 primary household grocery shoppers were surveyed in 12 countries including the United States, Germany, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom and more.

Nese Tagma, managing director of strategy and innovation for Cargill’s global edible oils business said: “As consumers’ attitudes toward fats and oils have shifted in recent years, we know they’re interested in consuming healthy amounts of oils. We’re able to offer a broad portfolio of fat and oil solutions, including our Clear Valley line, which has a canola-based product with lower saturated fat. This research is vital to guide our thinking on whether to revitalise tried-and-true products or develop a new frying oil to adapt to changing tastes and health options.”

Key findings:

  • A majority of global consumers report the amount of fat (70%) and type of oil (67%) are important factors when determining which packaged foods to purchase.
  • How often consumers read labels differs by geography. Chinese consumers pay the most attention (89%), and German consumers monitor the least (48%).
  • Nearly two-thirds (61%) of U.S. consumers report avoiding certain fats or oils, and among those who rank as “clean-label seekers,” 83% report avoiding certain fats or oils, like saturated and trans fats.
  • Olive oil tops the list in every country for impact on purchase and perceptions of healthfulness in packaged foods, followed by fish and avocado oils.
  • A vast majority of global consumers, 93%, were aware of omega-3s.

Consumers influenced by claims on packaged food:

  • Most consumers are checking labels for fat-related claims (fat-free, low fat, etc.) on packaged foods, and 54% say such a claim makes them more likely to purchase.
  • Consumers in China (62%) and Brazil (61%) indicate they are more likely to purchase a product with a sustainability claim. Consumers in Russia (73%) indicate they are more likely to purchase a product with a non-GMO claim.
  • In most countries, an organic certification on a label is more impactful on purchasing decisions versus a non-GMO verification.


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