Free-from packaging

Are ‘free-from’ claims enough to satisfy shoppers? (Survey)

Two-thirds of Canadians think "free-from" claims are a way for brands to charge more

Food and beverage manufacturers need to overcome trust barriers with consumers when it comes to “free-from” claims, according to new research from Mintel.

A survey of 1,600 Canadians found four in five shoppers buy products with free-from claims, but 65% think free-from claims are a way for companies to charge more. So, why are Canadians gobbling up free-from products even though many think it’s a marketing ploy?

Joel Gregoire, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, says the fact that 80% of Canadians have bought free-from products is a testament to how commonly claims are used.

“It’s difficult to go grocery shopping without purchasing any food or beverages that don’t have some sort of free-from claim on them,” he says. “The challenge is that many of these claims are diluted as they become so prevalent.”

Gregoire says packaging with numerous claims can lead to confusion, especially when those claims aren’t relevant to the product. For example, many companies have looked to capitalize on the gluten-free trend, so much so they’re putting gluten-free claims on products that typically don’t include gluten. That’s bound to foster mistrust, added Gregoire.

To bridge the trust gap, companies need to look beyond placing labels on packaging and incorporate the claims into their brand DNA, says Gregoire.

“Many manufacturers have undertaken an effort to ‘clean up’ their ingredient decks, incorporating more ‘natural’ or fewer ingredients,” he says.

“It’s important for companies to dedicate the appropriate resources to crafting narrative that resonates, educates and clarifies in an environment where consumers are inundated with contrary messaging on what’s good for them.”

Gregoire cites McCain Foods’ “It’s All Good” platform as a good example of this strategy, as well as President Choice’s “Free From” beef, chicken and pork products, which are raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones.

Which “free-from” claims are the most important to consumers? According to the survey, the top claims are trans-fat free (54%), fat-free (48%) and preservative-free (46%).

Nearly 60% of free-from consumers agree free-from products are healthier to eat and drink. Another 52% agree these products help them address specific health issues. However, only 22% report free-from claims are an important purchasing factor. Aside from price, ingredients (75%) and freshness (73%) matter the most.

The survey also found parents are more likely to have favourable views of free-from foods than non-parents. Two-thirds (66%) of parents feel better serving free-from products to their children, while another half agree it’s worth paying more for free-from products versus 36% of non-parents.

Overall, 58% of parents say they are more likely to buy products with free-from labels compared to 45% of non-parents, and 64% agree free-from products are healthier to consume versus 57% of non-parents.

Add a comment

You must be to comment.

Create a Commenting Account

Brands Articles

Tangerine releases followup to ‘Hard Work’ brand anthem

Online bank takes a more product-focused approach with new spot

Turkish Airlines keeps Canadian marketing aloft following attacks

Carrier steps up sponsorship, advertising despite terrorist activity in Istanbul

BlackBerry to cease smartphone production

Company will license technology and brand to third parties following financial losses

President’s Choice, MEC top 2016 Brand Trust Index

Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire and others fall out of the top 10

Moneris predicts the (almost) end of cash

Survey finds 25% of young Canadians prefer paying with a mobile wallet

Coca-Cola brings mid-calorie drink to Canada

Naturally sweetened 'Life' brand launches with extensive campaign

Marie Callender’s aims to free moms of mealtime guilt

ConAgra-owned frozen entrée brand launches campaign with real moms

Ace Bakery rises up with first campaign

'Discover Great Bread' is based on consumer truths about bread

Activia brand positioning shifts from function to emotion

Canadian rollout relies heavily on digital to court millennial women