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LOS ANGELES — Artificial ingredients in food products is a top concern for Americans, and many do not trust large companies to produce all-natural alternatives, a new national consumer poll released by Instantly Inc. found.
According to the study, 75 percent of Americans said they trust small, independent companies over large, established ones when it comes to producing all-natural products.
They also associate natural food brands with independent ownership. Seventy percent said they believe most natural food brands are independent vs. 30 percent who believe they are owned by large companies.
“The perception among consumers is that natural foods are the domain of independent brands and larger corporations don’t have this specialty,” said Andy Jolls, chief marketing officer at Instantly. “But with the mergers and acquisitions in the consumer packaged goods industry, the reality is that many food brands are owned by a handful of big companies. As demand for natural foods and ingredients rises, marketers need to be mindful about both the risks and opportunities that exist and position their brands carefully so as not damage consumer trust.”
Additionally, the study revealed that Americans are keenly aware of what goes into food products, with 77 percent saying they review ingredient labels before making a purchase, and an overwhelming 82 percent saying they believe foods with artificial ingredients are less healthy than those with all-natural substitutes.
When it comes to "unhealthy" categories like snacks or frozen pizza, many people believe products will be healthier when artificial ingredients are removed, according to the Instantly poll. If a brand replaces artificial flavors with all-natural substitutes, 79 percent of consumers said they would have a more positive perception of that brand, and 75 percent would be more likely to purchase its products.
Instantly is a Los Angeles-based market research firm.