New research reveals that UK consumers are struggling to identify healthy food and drink products. Attest, a consumer research platform, showed six varieties of cereal bars to 1,000 UK consumers and asked them to identify which was the healthiest choice. It found:

  • Using the Nutri-Score system, a nutrition label that converts the nutritional value of products into a simple ranking system of letters (A to E), just 16% of Brits were able to identify the healthiest choice when shown a selection of cereal bars. 
  • Worryingly, the vast majority – 78% – chose cereal bars with the second worst level of nutritional value, while 6% selected the worst of the bunch, which had a Nutri-Score of E.
  • Of these 78% of respondents, they cited packaging language as the reason for their wrong choice, with these bars containing health-related messages including “natural”, “protein packed” and “plant based”

The research also found that nearly half (48%) worry that wellness products aren’t actually healthy when shopping for them. Four in ten people say they’re concerned that the health benefits of the ingredients haven’t been scientifically-proven, while 36% worry that the amount of active ingredients included isn’t actually enough to make a difference.

Due to these issues, the research finds that 47% want to see clear nutrition labelling on the front of products and state that this is the number one factor that would increase their trust in wellness products. 
Jeremy King, CEO and Founder of Attest, said of the research: “The Attest research shows that identifying real, healthy food and beverage products appears to be a significant difficulty for consumers when shopping. As revealed by the data, packaging and product messages aren’t helping shoppers nearly enough to make informed decisions. This is a clear call to action for the food and beverage industry to simplify how it sells its products.”