Global: Is food nutrient labelling a waste of space?
February 17th, 2022, Janice Fernandes

Global: Is food nutrient labelling a waste of space?

The pandemic may have highlighted the need for healthy living, but are consumers around the globe consciously taking notice of what they’re eating.

At least two in five consumers from each market say they are likely to check the nutrient contents while shopping.

A new YouGov analysis, across 17 markets, asks how likely shoppers are to consult nutritional information on the food and drinks they buy. Globally, more than half of consumers say they check the label for nutrients as they shop (55%). However, 21% say they’re unlikely to read the nutrient content, while another 20% are on the fence.

A look at each market individually reveals that respondents are more likely to say they tend to check on nutrients than any other answer. Almost three-quarters of urban Indians (71%) say that checking the nutrients in a food or beverage is something they’re likely to do.

Among online Indonesians, nearly three in five consumers say they are ‘likely’ to check (58%). However, nearly a third are unsure whether they would look over nutritional details (29%). Undecided consumers, who are ‘neither likely nor unlikely’, also constitute a substantial chunk of consumers in Hong Kong (28%).

Urban Mexico is one of the top three markets where customers are likely to check the nutritional information (66%) while Americans are as likely as the global audience to do so (55%). But the percentage dips significantly in most parts of Europe, including Denmark (42%), Sweden (44%) and Germany (46%).

Danes also have a high share of consumers who are unlikely to check the nutrients of any food or beverage while purchasing (31%). This is only second to the British, 34% of whom are unlikely to check nutritional values. This could indicate that either they trust the brands they purchase, or that nutrient content is not as important in Great Britain as it is in other markets.

Further analysis shows that globally there’s an attitudinal difference among age groups. Those between 25 to 34 years old and 35-44 have a higher propensity to say they are likely to check the nutritional information (58% and 57% respectively). This percentage drops slightly with the older age groups (55% each of 45-54-year-olds and 55+) and considerably with the youngest age group of 18-24 (50%).

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 17 markets with sample sizes varying between 511 and 2019 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in September 2021. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.