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« With or Free », consumers are choosing consciously

« With or Free », consumers are choosing consciously

The offer of products in the “free” segment is growing in importance. The consumer wishes to find products of which the composition is guaranteed. This way, consumers can control and have a bigger impact on their own diet. All categories of food, as well as all distribution channels are concerned.

The three categories of “free”

The “free” by choice 

In this case, the consumer chooses to exclude one or more ingredients from his diet. His choice is a personal choice, made through reasoning, in the prospect of real (or yet to be proven) benefits (e.g. better digestion…).

  • 1 out of 3 chooses to avoid certain products
  • 10% are choosing for “gluten-free” products

Virtuous “free” ranges

These are products for which one or more components have been removed from the composition because of their potentially dangerous nature or ability to affect the product’s quality. For example: GMO’s, palm oil, preservatives, colouring…

“Free” products guaranteeing the absence of an allergen

For these consumers (adult or children) the elimination of one (or more) particular ingredient is the result of a specific allergy. Being exposed to the ingredient in question might cause minor to severe health crisis. It’s is estimated that 2 to 10% of the world’s population are suffering from allergies..

A marketing argument

Statistics show that “Gluten free” and “lactose free” products are consumed by consumers allergic to these ingredients, and by people who choose to eliminate these from their diet. According to Datamonitor, “gluten free” range sales rose to 1 billion dollars between 2008 and 2013. 

Interestingly, presenting a “free” product has become one of the standalone marketing arguments put forward by manufacturers.


Source: Fiche info SIAL Paris 2014 on « Nutrition and Health »

Sources: Datamonitor, Euromonitor, TNS Sofres and XTC

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