A majority of Brazilian consumers are invested in trying to maintain healthy eating habits, according to a Mintel survey data, with 65% of consumers stating they already ate healthily or were in the process of trying to do so.
'It's too hard...'
However, Ana Paula Gilsogamo, food and drink anaylst at Mintel, said these consumers also cited numerous barriers that made healthy eating tough.
“Many Brazilians find it difficult to adopt and maintain healthy eating habits - 75% of consumers strongly agree or somewhat agree with the statement 'it's too hard to maintain healthy eating habits',” Gilsogamo told FoodNavigator-LATAM.
“Among the main reasons mentioned, are issues related to price and the difficulty and time spent to find and prepare healthy meals,” she said.
According to survey data, 61% of consumers who claimed healthy eating was hard to maintain agreed that 'healthy food is expensive'; 32% that 'it's hard to find healthy options'; and 23% with the statement: 'I take too long looking for healthy options when I go grocery shopping'.
So, how can food and beverage manufacturers overcome these barriers? Create healthy products with perceivable added value, Gilsogamo said.
Brazilians will pay more for 'specific claims'
“Although price can be an obstacle for consumers when trying to adopt and maintain healthy eating habits, Brazilians have demonstrated an interest in paying more for products with specific claims, such as organic or natural, added vitamins or minerals, and high fiber, for example. These claims have overcome the price barrier and managed to add value to products,” she said.
Organic and/or natural claims generated “the highest level of interest and willingness to pay more” among Brazilian consumers, she said, with 51% prioritizing such claims. This was followed closely by an interest in added vitamins and mineral claims (50%) and added fiber claims (49%).
Gilsogamo said it was important, therefore, that food and beverage manufacturers kept in mind the need to show claims, and highlight the importance and benefits around claims, to create product value for consumers - brands had to educate consumers and “provide more practical and convenient options”.
This was especially important, she said, given 38% of consumers who claimed healthy eating was hard to maintain also said it was 'difficult to understand which ingredients or products are healthy just looking at the label'.
Label change promise?
Impending changes to Brazil's front-of-pack label laws, she said, could bring about fruitful shifts for brands with healthy food and beverage products.
“The new labeling rules, if approved, should give new emphasis to products with low contents of sugar, trans fats, and sodium. Therefore, these attributes are expected to be highlighted on the products' packaging, drawing even more attention from consumers.”
Importantly, the Mintel survey indicated that just under half of all consumers (47%) would be interested in and pay more for products low in sugar, trans fats or sodium.
The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) has been reviewing proposals for compulsory front-of-pack labeling on food and beverage products sold in the country for over a year now. The agency has two main proposals under review: a traffic light labeling system similar to the UK model, which is widely supported by the food and beverage industry, and a warning label similar to the Chilean model, which is favored by the country's consumer protection organization and various health NGOs, most recently the FAO. A final decision is due early this year.