Sugar overtakes fat as Brits' biggest food health claim concern

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More than 54% of Brits who try to eat healthily at least some of the time consider low sugar the most important health claim, according to new research from Mintel.

Mintel’s Attitudes Towards Healthy Eating UK 2016 report found that the proportion of shoppers identifying low sugar as the most important claim has increased from 43% in 2012. Back then, low fat was considered the most important health claim by 52% of health-conscious consumers.

Low salt content and low saturated fat content are also leading factors today among 47% and 46% respectively of healthy food shoppers.

Low calorie content falls low on the list of factors deemed important when looking for healthy foods. Mintel found that just 38% of Britons who try to eat healthily look at calorie count when shopping.

The research found a balanced diet remains key for consumers. Sixty-six per cent of Brits agree that unhealthy treats are fine as part of a healthy diet while 49% believe there is no need for ‘light’ or ‘diet’ products in a balanced diet.

Some 57% say they typically cook from scratch and 55% include plenty of vegetables in meals.

The research also found that 32% of consumers are interested in trying the latest foods claimed to boost health, such as chia seeds and spirulina. Thirty-four per cent say it is worth paying more for highly nutritious foods.

“It’s surprising that over two-fifths of consumers who have tried to lose weight in the last year report consuming over 2,000 calories a day,” said Mintel senior food analyst Emma Clifford.

“Our research reveals that many consumers do not keep track of their consumption and perhaps are not aware of how many calories they should be consuming, or even the typical calorific value of foods. This provides evidence of marked confusion around this key weight management gauge, even among dieters.”

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