Customers are eschewing ultra-processed foods

A survey by trade magazine The Grocer of 1.000 adults shows a great leap in the importance of health. No less than three million consumers in the UK have started avoiding ultra-processed foods (UPFs) in the past three months.

Research from the EIT Food Consumer Observatory, combining a survey of 10.000 consumers from 17 European countries found that 65% of European consumers believe that ultra-processed foods are unhealthy, and that they will cause health issues later in life.

More than two-thirds of consumers (67%), for example, believe UPFs contribute to obesity, diabetes, and other lifestyle-related health issues.

Furthermore, 67% of European consumers state that they do not like it when their foods contain ingredients they do not recognize, and four in 10 (40%) do not trust that ultra-processed foods are regulated well enough by authorities to ensure these foods are safe and healthy in the long term.

UPFs include packaged snacks, soda, sugary cereals, energy drinks and chocolate bars, as well as foods such as ready-made sauces and dips, ready meals, and salad dressings.

Despite consumers’ health concerns, 56% admit to eating UPFs at least once a week, citing convenience, price, and taste as motivations.