About 71 per cent Indians say they take notice of packaged goods’ labels containing nutritional information compared to two years ago but only 59 per cent Indians mostly understand the nutritional panels and labels that they read on the food packaging, according to findings from a recent internet survey on food labelling and nutrition conducted in 51 countries by Nielsen Company.
Secondly, it is the fat content that drives more than half of Indian consumers to check the labels on food packaging. About 60 per cent Indian respondents surveyed check food labels for fat, followed by calories (58 per cent) and preservatives (52 per cent).
The percentage of people who check nutritional information has increased from 49 per cent to 59 per cent in the last two years. With 59 per cent, India also tops Asia-Pacific in its understanding of nutritional labels. North Americans lead the race in understanding food labelling with 67 per cent.
“Indians were never so busy before; long work hours, long commute, working mothers, nuclear family and so on has left very little time in their hands for household chores like cooking. Quite naturally, packaged products are making an entry in a big way in the Indian kitchen... This surely indicates an opportunity for savvy food manufacturers to use nutritional labelling as a powerful marketing tool,” said Chandana Banerji, director, client solutions, Nielsen Company.
About 37 per cent Indians said that they always check the nutritional information when buying packaged goods and 35 per cent agreed to checking labels when they are thinking of buying a product for the first time, while 28 per cent check the labels when buying certain food types. 10 per cent respondents agreed to check labels when they are on a diet and also when they have the time.
After fat and calories, other nutritional information for which Indians check the labels are protein content (48 per cent), carbohydrates and additives (46 per cent), colouring (45 per cent) and sugar (44 per cent).
Sugar, however, appears quite low on the list of concerns for Indians. Artificial additives have taken precedence. This resonates with findings from another global survey conducted in 2007 by Nielsen on functional foods — according to the global Nielsen organic and functional food survey, 33 per cent Indian consumers considered a product with full sugar but no artificial flavours/colours/additives to be healthier than a product reduced in calories but with artificial substitutes.
“In recent times, health, diet and lifestyle issues have become a prominent feature among Indian consumers. People are obsessed with healthy living and it is also reflected in the pace at which the ‘health and wellness’ industry has been growing of late. It is, therefore, an opportunity for marketers to add an element of ‘healthiness’ to their products and cash in on the obsession,” continued Banerji.
The Nielsen global online consumer survey was conducted by Nielsen in April 2008 among 28,253 internet users in 51 markets from Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America and West Asia
6 months ago