Consumer perspective: The appeal of “Free-From”


HCD Research, Flemington, USA

In a 2015 study, Mintel (1) found that 84% of “free-from” American consumers choose “free-from” products in an effort for more natural foods. They feel that free-from products are more natural and therefore healthier than other products.

Are they right? Are free-from products healthier, more natural?

In our own study at HCD Research (unpublished, presented at 2015 Society for Neuroscience), we found that when presented with gluten-free or GMO-free packaging consumers were more likely to believe free-from products tasted better, were willing to pay more for them and viewed the brand more positively. Further, it seems that younger consumers are expecting more from their products. 

Products must not only be free-from to meet health expectations, but also provide additional health benefits, clean labels and ethical/responsible sourcing of ingredients. The Mintel study went on claiming that 60% of millennials are concerned about harmful ingredients (more than Gen X or Boomers).
Preservatives are antimicrobial ingredients added to product formulations to maintain the micr ...